You’ve got to hand it to Geico. They take a completely boring product, insurance, and make it interesting.
Of course, they do so by throwing non-sequiturs at you in the form of talking cavemen, flying pigs, musical money stacks, and geckos with accents.
When it comes down to it, they never really say a word about insurance or related coverage options.
Perhaps this is why their commercials are so brilliant. Every other insurance company bores us with policy details that simply put us to sleep, though many are beginning to take Geico’s lead as well.
And Geico certainly has the lead. The insurer spent the most on advertising in 2009 (most recent data available) by a mile, and likely has held onto that lead, if your television is any indication.
The Geico Gecko’s Humble Beginnings
That brings us to Geico’s most lovable TV mascot, the “Geico Gecko.”
The little green critter apparently came about because the name Geico was often mispronounced as “gecko,” and because animals have proven to create a strong relationship between customers and companies. See Spuds MacKenzie for more on that.
So Geico’s advertising company, Martin Agency, started brainstorming and came up with a “quick doodle.”
Interestingly, it came about during the Screen Actor Guild’s strike when human actors were essentially barred from being in commercials.
So a lot of things had to come together to make it a possible.
That doodle proved to be a goldmine for Geico, as it been a prominent part of their ad campaign for about 25 years now.
In fact, it’s still their main mascot, and likely will be for the foreseeable future.
Is the Geico Gecko English or Australian?
The next logical question is where the Geico Gecko is from. After all, Geico has posed the very question in one of its commercials, only to leave viewers wondering.
Well, anyone that knows a good English accent knows it’s definitely not Australian. See Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) for more on that.
It’s definitely an English accent, though it has varied over the years. The voice behind the Geico Gecko was originally performed by English radio presenter David Kelly, and was later handled by English actor Jake Wood of EastEnders fame.
The most recent English accent heard in Geico commercials is a cockney accent, which is a working class accent common in the East End of London, England.
So there you have it. It’s definitely not Australian, and 100% English. For anyone familiar with accents, it’s pretty obvious.
Clearly Geico just decided to make it a cliffhanger in their commercials to get more people to their website with the hope that they would request an insurance quote. Once again, a brilliant idea.
By the way, the Geico Gecko is the most recognized insurance mascot, beating out Flo from Progressive and Mayhem from Allstate.
For the record, the acronym for GEICO is Government Employees Insurance Company. And the company has been around since 1936.