CAI Statement In Response To A Recent Commercial Aired By GEICO Insurance

By Thomas M. Skiba, CAE 
Chief Executive Officer 
Community Associations Institute

We know that many of our members have voiced their concern about a recent commercial aired by GEICO Insurance. In response to GEICO Insurance’s “HOA Cynthia Advises New Neighbors” commercial, Community Associations Institute (CAI) is deeply disappointed by the company’s inaccurate portrayal of homeowners associations and the 2.5 million volunteer board members elected to serve their communities.

GEICO’s attempt at comedy about a family moving into a community association is disrespectful and insulting to the millions of volunteers and hundreds of thousands of professionals who work tirelessly and proudly to build communities people are proud and privileged to call home. Community associations, also known as condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives, are home to 73.5 million Americans.

Learning the facts about HOA living is so easy to do, a caveman could do it. According to the 2018 Homeowner Satisfaction Survey, independently conducted by Zogby Analytics for the Foundation for Community Association Research, residents in associations are overwhelmingly in support of their community association experience, manager and elected board members.

These are the facts and not the easy, stereotypical and condescending messages designed to get a cheap chuckle.

CAI invites GEICO to take 15 minutes to discuss the value of community associations and how they bring people together, strengthen neighborly bonds, and promote a sense of belonging—especially now.

67 thoughts on “CAI Statement In Response To A Recent Commercial Aired By GEICO Insurance

  1. I’m an HOA president of an age restricted community and I thought the commercial was funny and didn’t find it offensive or representative of an HOA. I thought it was done in good taste.

    • It is not appropriate to show someone destroying a mailbox – this is a federal offense – if you want humor stick with the flower pots –

    • She did not damage the mail box. Only the post. Teenagers go around smashing msil boxes and no charges are pressed. There are movies showing destuctiom of mailboxes. You people neec to get a sense of humor

  2. I thought the commercial was entertaining and funny! We need a good laugh during these crazy times? Is there really a need for damage control? I hate to break it to you, some HOA are that bad and some are good. Maybe focus on improving HOAs in the communities rather going after a silly commercial. Let it go.

  3. Lighten up Frances (aka CAI). We had a “Cynthia “ in my HOA – stereotypes come from somewhere.

  4. Seriously? I live in an HOA and the crap I have to go through for everything is ridiculous. I got a $75 fine because chairs on my BACK porch did not match – they were folding camp chairs used for two hours. I had to pull flowers that were not on the approved list. They rejected my siding because they had never heard of it – even though it looked exactly like Hardy siding, of which they approved. And it goes on and on to the tune of dozens of fines.

    So don’t tell us Geico has it wrong. Some of us would actually prefer HOA Cynthia to our current situation.

    • Wow!, that’s silly ! That commercial was soooo funny!, especially the cutting down of the mail boxes!, Geico is really coming through with the commercials!

      • When comedians want something to be funny, they exaggerate. I’m part of a HOA board and I found it funny. It’s a shame that we cannot see the funny side of things. Maybe those people who don’t think it’s funny care the ones suffering from a ‘Cynthia’ in their HOA, and I can understand why they don’t think it’s funny. So, in next elections get rid of your Cynthia.

  5. HOA’s need to get over themselves. In the HOA I live in the Board President operates like he’s a some kind of King or Monarch… The rest of the Board members follow like lemmings so they don’t upset their leader. I bet he puts his undies on one leg at a time like the rest of us do. I’m surprised his name isn’t Richard.

  6. There is no shortage of nightmare stories of bullying, nitpicking, arbitrary fines to fill the coffers of the HOA, threats to put liens on homes for outlandish reasons, all by puffed up, self important petty tyrants who enjoy the control they exert over others. If you don’t like the commercial, look to your own community to see why it is even an issue. Many people have suffered under HOAs, or have heard the horror stories.

  7. You got to be kidding us, really?

    When did you become so sensitive? Most of it thought it was really funny and have no problem discerning reality from comedy.

    It might serve your organization and other homeowners association’s better if you spent your time more productively than nitpicking and Whining about entertaining and funny TV ads…

  8. Have had 4 dealings with HOAs. All were a nightmare. Spent the last 10 years in a condo with a COA. Even spent time on the board. This commercial is funny because it’s true. They don’t call these people Condo Nazis for nothing.

    Sold our condo at a big loss just to get away from the idiocy.

    Who did the CAI survey – board members only?

    Whining about a TV commercial is a perfect demonstration of answering the question, “How stupid can you be?”

  9. Well considering the fact is an HOA is you buying a house then paying dues to be told what you can and cant do with the property you work for is actually against what the founding fathers intended.. it is pretty accurate. How about stop impeding freedom then getting your feelings hurt when you get called out over it?

  10. Clearly, the survey asked the wrong people. My brother had a Cynthia, and she finally got the “shove off” message after the third time he had her arrested for trespassing. If the RL Cynthia had taken a chainsaw to my brother’s mailbox, or bolt cutters to my sister-in-law’s plants, she’d have been hit with malicious/willful destruction of private property on top of the trespassing and better pray he didn’t find something else to charge her with. He sold the house for less than he paid to get away, and later learned it’s still on the market, five years later. Nobody wants to deal with petty little dictators.

  11. The woman everyone loves to HATE. Not the actress, but the concept. I WOULD NEVER LIVE IN A COMMUNITY LIKE THAT AGAIN. Once was enough. Too bad if the HOAs don’t like it. It is true.

  12. Not sure a “we are disappointed” statement was necessary on this one. Anyone who lives in an HOA had a good laugh about this issue as there are always “Cynthias” on the board enforcing rules from laying out a towel on the patio too long, “illegal plant storage” just outside our gate, to not “liking” our porch configuration. Had a good laugh at the commercial – all can relate.

  13. Considering the number of incidents involving “Karens” lately the add is definitely in poor taste in my opinion.

  14. Things that make you say hum. Looks like the good majority of comments here are against the CIA. So HOAs do very much seem to be justifiably and well represented by the caricature of Cynthia in the ad. In my experience, HOA Board members tend to agents of hypocrisy and are generally desperately in need of some sort of power, attention, or control in their lives. I could see this going far past anything they ever did with Cavemen or Geckos. The self-righteous position of the CIA perfectly exemplifies the very stereotype presented, and just because it is stereotypical, does not mean it is not true.

  15. I saw the commercial and it is really funny. We need to be able to take a joke and not be offended by everything.

  16. CAI needs to get a sense of humor.

    My wife and I have lived in 6 condos. I’ve served on 3 HOA boards. Like most humor, it’s an exaggerated version of reality. Lighten up CAI.

    • You might want to look at the HOA horrors on youtube of what is exaggerated.

      Legally stealing peoples homes for petty reasons.

  17. Unfortunately YOUTUBE is full of examples of REAL CYNTHIA so you can not hide behind sainthood.
    HOA’s are a scourge on society and do nothing but price a certain class of citizens that can not maintain property to a certain standards. We all know who THAT is.
    You can’t legally say you can’t buy a house here unless you conform.
    Afterwords, you are at the mercy of whatever society dictates at the time.
    If that year Christmas is evil then you are not putting up decorations.

    In my backyard I built a storage room, a play set, an above ground pool and no I did not have to ASK to do it. It is MY property that I paid for.

    I know, lets fine a person for not mowing their lawn or have the right paint color to the point we can legally steal their property and sell it at auction.

  18. Lol. Seriously? You’re really that upset and want an apology from Geico? I think the commercial is annoying and just tune it out. It’s a common stereotype, which are usually derived from truths, about how HOA enforcers act. Cynthia must’ve wrote this.

  19. HOA recently told me I couldn’t store items in my garage next to my car, despite the bylaws explicitly allowing it, while making repairs to/painting the interior. I had also been reported previously for putting my trash out on a Tuesday (trash day is Thursday and cans/bags can be put out on Wednesday), complete with photographic proof showing a time tag of Wednesday afternoon. All reported anonymously, of course.

    • HOA’s are filled with Negative Neds and Negative Nels…or losers at life who need to get a life. Our Board of directors in our HOA lack integrity and transparency. Lying must be a part of requirement to be in such select company.

  20. I also want to point out. Anyone that’s actually offended by this ad is the target audience. Don’t like it? Well maybe do something to change the stereotype.

  21. The commercial is hilarious. My favorite is the guy who says, “I see you’ve met Cynthia.” I’m thinking Cynthia sent this letter to GEICO.

  22. Ha! That commercial could not be more accurate! I moved out because of the power- hungry, elderly with nothing better to do grumps in my former neighborhood! NEVER AGAIN WILL I PURCHASE A HOME WITHIN AN HOA NEIGHBORHOOD!!

  23. Please get over yourselves. If the responses here are any indication… the perceived slight to your organization and the ideals of a functioning homeowners community (which you claim GEICO portrayed incorrectly) then you should think again.

    It was what commercials are supposed to be: entertaining! It was comedy, a parody of real-life in crazy times and recognizable by the majority of of homeowners who have ever lived under the yolk of an HOA. The same parody of an HOA president gone power mad that the movie Over The Hedge so wonderfully captured years ago.

    We all want to see more of Cynthia’s antics in future commercials. In my miserable HOA we have not one, but two Karens that give Cynthia a run for her money.

    Geico got it just right as far as I am concerned!

  24. I’ve never met a single person who lived in a community with an HOA who had anything good to say about them. Feel free to whitewash yourselves, but from the outside looking in, I think HOAs should usually be ashamed of themselves.

  25. Thank you for the message regarding the homeowners association regulations. I have been very disappointed with this commercial!
    Please tell me why the hanging flower baskets were cut down!!- and the home owners just stand there! Also the blatant cutting down of the mail box! I can’t believe that anyone would just stand there and let this happen!!

  26. You sound like the typical HOA boss hog control freak with nothing else to do. Sad way to not to enjoy life & feel important to the dominating snobs you can gossip with.

  27. This article goes to show just how much of a joke HOA’s can be.
    Are you that hurt at this commercial that you can’t just laugh at its humor? There is some truth in it by the way. It’s a lifestyle I tried and will never return to. I refuse to pay fees for anything I busted my ass to own outright. Like I mentioned, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not for everyone.
    Stop being uptight and offended….
    That’s a MAJOR problem this Country in these hard times. Let it go!

  28. I don’t live in an HOA neighborhood but the first time I saw this commercial and saw the head of the HOA cut down the hanging baskets and use the chainsaw to cut the mailbox off all I could think of was destruction of property. It was totally wrong! Destruction of property is what I see every time I see this commercial.

    • HOA Board Members are all about Power & Control. They subscribe to a “Group-Think” mentality, and have no interest in discussing a countering point of view. The Board President where we live does not believe in Freedom of Speech or the First Amendment…he acts as though our HOA is a satellite campus of North Korea. (Of course, he’s never served his country, either).

  29. I sold my last house and moved to the country to get free from the HOA curse. I had all I could stand of them Lawn Nazi attitude. The last straw was when the tried to cite me for converting a back yard flower bed to a kitchen herb garden. Since we had a pool we were diligent about keeping our gates locked. The only way they could have known about the herbs was by using a ladder to climb over my 8’ privacy fence or using a drone to snooze I see the yard. This was the same HOA that kept billing us for due two years after we sold and moved finally filing a small claim lawsuit to collect.

  30. I just spent the last fifteen minutes down this strange internet rabbit hole because I was trying to find out using the Googles if one of the actors in this commercial was an old acquaintance from my past.

    I am stunned by the number of people that have taken time to comment, reflect, consider, react, debate, genuflect and express strong feelings about this advertisement. So allow me to tag along on this ride and share some of what I am thinking.

    When commercials happen to me, I really try not to notice them and usually while they are on while I am shoveling some noisy Chili-Cheese Fritos in my face, because I can’t hear the television over my ravenous chewing during the program. Right now I’m re-watching all of MASH on Hulu (I’m on season six and Winchester is a marked improvement over Burns by the way).and so this commercial shows almost every time between the credits and the start of the show. It took like 20 times for me realize what was even happening, and who Cynthia was supposed to be, and that it was eben an ad for Geico or Progressive or Allstate or whichever essentially identical insurance company it is actually purports to represent. Anyway, after a while I couldn’t help but notice that the husband looked like someone from college, probably not enough to merit looking it up, but here I am.

    I have never laughed once at this commercial. It is not funny. Commercials are dumb. I never laugh at them. This one is no different. I have never been offended by this commercial, or even considered the ramifications that the satirical portrayal of Cynthia might have on actual HOA members. Even after reading these comments and typing out this bored screed, I still have not thought about whether or not this advertisement is fair in its representation of those individuals.

    The world we live in is so weird that this space even exists for this discussion. It makes my head hurt and it makes me laugh at the absurdity of it all. You might be rightly thinking “What a hypocrite right now!” and sure I’m guilty as charged for making fun of what I am now taking part in myself.

    The last good commercial I saw was for the Snoopy Sno-cone Machine when I was nine years old. Let’s not let them have power over our lives. As deeply cynical and nihilist as this missive might seem, I do wish everyone here the best. Thanks for reading. Peace.

      • I get paid by the word. So I am? It was not my intention to obfuscate by unnecessarily including verbiage intended to annoy, vex, perturb or bother you. My humblest of apologies and deepest of regard for you sir, I am well rebuked, and will take your advice to heart in future, missives, letters, notes, messages, correspondence, posts, memoranda, communications and media.

  31. You have got to be kidding me! Where’s your sence of humor?! Are you mad, because part of this is true?! It’s a joke! I know some HOA presidents who are similiar to this. Get over yourselves! “If it doesn’t apply, let it fly! ” Sheesh! Everyone is soo sensitive! Well…
    I see you’ve met Cynthia! LMAO!

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