GEICO-sponsored AMF Offshore Racing Team Adds “Crown Jewel”

Corporate leaders GEICO Insurance, AMF Offshore Racing and Cigarette Racing Team have joined forces to target market the GEICO brand to offshore powerboat racing fans. AMF Offshore Racing purchased a Cigarette 38 Top Gun as its VIP boat and will brand it with the GEICO Caveman graphics for use on its extensive “Miss GEICO” US Offshore Powerboat Racing schedule.

Miss GEICO Racing joins the widely promoted GEICO Gecko, Caveman, and stack of money ads. GEICO Insurance’s VP of Marketing, Ted Ward, who has propelled GEICO to the third largest insurance company in the country, recognized that the sponsorship of the three-time World Champion AMF Offshore Race Team, owned by South Florida entrepreneur, John Haggin, was the perfect venue to build a platform for GEICO’s new powersports insurance program including boats, motorcycles, RVs, ATVs and personal watercraft.

Skip Braver, President and CEO of the South Florida-based Cigarette Racing Team, bought the iconic powerboat manufacturing company over seven years ago, realizing that its heritage—and even its name, had been based on the passionate and successful offshore racing experience by notorious founder Don Aronow. However, Braver had a different strategy and decided to focus on building the finest quality recreational powerboat and to market it via consumer boating events. “Racing is exciting and provides good R&D for building boats, but at Cigarette, we’ve done the homework and felt by boating with our customers, we would best demonstrate the reliability and high quality of our product.”

When Haggin wanted to add a reliable, durable and impressive VIP vessel to his race team, he approached Cigarette’s long-time Miami dealer, Lip Ship Performance. Recognizing the powerful marketing support that GEICO puts behind the fan-favorite team, Braver concurred with Phil Lipschutz, a World Championship racer himself. “We are very enthused about working with AMF’s professional race team and GEICO’s corporate marketing division. When Cigarette is recognized as the boat of choice to escort prominent celebrities and dignitaries and to share with them the exciting experience of powerboating, we are pleased and proud.”

“I saw my first Cigarette at 6-years old when my father took me to the Miami-Bahamas race. Ever since then, I have dreamed of owning a Cigarette and now having one on the GEICO Caveman team is a dream come true!” says Haggin, “We wanted the best-of-the-best and we got it!”

AMF/Miss GEICO Offshore Racing has three turbine engine-catamarans. Its new VIP boat is a single hull, “Vee-Bottom”, classic 38’ Top Gun, the most popular Cigarette model for over three decades, powered by Mercury Racing 525 EFI engines. “Speed is important to Cigarette,” says Braver, “But safety, reliability and long-term use are our main priorities. In racing or in recreational boating, we exclusively use Mercury Racing engines.”

GEICO, a Washington DC-based company spends hundreds of millions per year in marketing. The AMF/Miss GEICO Offshore Racing Team is part of the Powersports division, a small, but growing portion of the overall budget. GEICO provides marketing materials and supports the team’s racing and public relations efforts. The race boats are painted in signature “safety green” chartreuse and branded with the “Miss GEICO” graphics, a bikini-clad female version of the GEICO Gecko. The Cigarette GEICO Caveman boat is planned to debut at the New York City Superboat International race, a series to be televised by CBS Sports Spectacular in the fall. According to Gary Goodell, consultant to AMF and representative for GEICO, “The Cigarette Caveman boat will be the ‘crown jewel’ of the fleet and will receive tremendous exposure!”

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