The Gecko: A retrospective

By on April 2, 2010 at 9:17 AM

Posted in: Marketing & Communications

At first, the Gecko just wanted to clear up the confusion about the correct pronunciation of “GEICO.”

Part 1: Born on a napkin, reptile just wanted to be left alone

People have many questions about our fine green friend, so I thought it would be appropriate to share a little “Gecko history.” GEICO (the acronym for Government Employees Insurance Company) has been around since 1936 and for many years people had difficulty pronouncing our name.

The Gecko was “born” in 1999 as a result of this confusion, after a few ad execs from GEICO and The Martin Agency got together and discussed the tricky pronunciation of our name. Soon after, the agency came back to GEICO with a storyboard for a commercial featuring our Gecko standing at a podium telling the public he is a “Gecko, not to be confused with GEICO.”

In that first Gecko commercial campaign, the retiring reptile tried in vain to get people to stop calling him with their insurance concerns. “You want GEICO, not Gecko!” But by 2002, the Gecko decided that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” More on that next week …

What’s the first Gecko commercial you remember?

38 responses to “The Gecko: A retrospective

  1. poppy says:

    I remember the GECKO  getting out of the shower to answer the phone. He has a shower cap on and a towel around him. I remember thinking that the GECKO was just the cutest thing ever.

  2. Rebecca F says:

    Thanks Poppy!  I really liked that commercial too.  He was great back then and I still think he’s cute.  The gecko just seems to get better with time. 

  3. Mike Eavey says:

    I’ve been a fan of the Gecko from the very first.  I can’t think of a single thing he he has done over the years that wasn’t first rate.  Of course what can you expect from the spokesperson for a first rate company.

  4. anon says:

    this site is really lame.  get a life.

  5. Susan Garretson says:

    The Gecko is not  in it,  but the best commercial is the new Elmer Fudd one… It is so very funny…

  6. B. Hamilton says:

    The shower cap one was really cute! But my absolute favorite GEICO ad was those two squirrels that made the car wreck and then high5ed each other… i laughed so hard and never forgot the name GEICO after that..

  7. AEB Temple U says:

    BRING BACK OLD GECKO

  8. Rebecca F says:

    Thanks for all the feedback! After the gecko’s makeover, he has been pretty adamant about loving his new look, so we have to do what we can to make him happy. Though he won’t admit it, I think he is slightly embarrassed by getting caught in his shower cap. Thanks for bringing back thoughts of the classic squirrels commercial, B. And Susan, it’s great to hear the new ones are resonating well.

  9. joecabby says:

    maybe you can have the gecko drive a nyc taxi to lga in a stong accent with a rod sterling manner while the company president is a passenger pointing out the dangers of driving and the need for quality car insurance. BTW I love seeing those ideas come to life. Great Job! your cabby, joe

  10. Ana H. says:

    The very first GEICO commercial I remember seeing is the one where the Gecko was in the shower and had to scramble out to answer the phone, only to find out the call was for GEICO, not for him.

  11. CHensley says:

    What’s his name?  Where is he from???  Inquiring minds want to know!  What does he look like wearing the little suit?  Did the man squash him in the “trust” exercise? LOVE the commercials.

  12. Rebecca F says:

    I’m glad you have such enthusiasm for our little friend.  He is simply known as the Gecko.  Generally, he does not like to wear suits, so he has managed to avoid actually putting one on.  And, rest assured, the Gecko has not been squashed. 

  13. christa h. says:

    i really want to know where he is from…can anyone answer this for me?

  14. Rebecca F says:

    The gecko is a world traveler and has spent time in many places.  He also likes to remain a bit mysterious and won’t even tell us where he’s from.  One of these days, we’ll get it out of him!

  15. kathy g. says:

    TO: anon,
    Maybe you need to get a sense of humor.  A little whimsy is good for the soul. GO GECKO !!!   p.s. I want to know where he is from too!!!

  16. T. Zan says:

    My fiancee’s birthday is this weekend and I’ve been trying to get an autographed pix.  Let me know if you can help.  I want it to say
    “Anne,
    John’s one lucky geezer to have a bird like you!”
    GG

  17. E.Fowler says:

    How’s this for a tribute to the Gecko?  I was having my review with my Allstate agent and we started talking about the Gecko.  My agent said, “I hate it when the man drops him.”  Sympathy for the competitor!!   ERF

  18. Rebecca F. says:

    Well, thanks! I hate that pesky trust exercise too!

  19. amanda says:

    RE-HIRE THE VOICE FOR GECKO! YOU CANNOT FIRE SOMEONE FOR A VOICE MESSAGE THEY LEFT ON THEIR OWN TIME! YOU ARE FORCING PEOPLE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN GEICO AND LOGIC BECAUSE OF THOSE PSYCHO TEA PARTIERS, SO GUESS WHAT, I HAVE CANCELLED MY INSURANCE AND AM NOW BOYCOTTING YOU!

  20. ron says:

    The gecko’s name is Schlomo.

  21. Suzanne says:

    Just please keep on airing the Gecko commercials.  They are funny, informational, and the only commercials that I do not MUTE.  Thanks fo much!

  22. Pipa says:

    I absolutely LOVE the “Bird In The Hand” commercial with the woman at the end saying “Really?!”  I would love a cut of that commercial with just her saying “Really?!”  It would be a great answer to many e-mails I receive.  Seems that cut of the commercial, circulating around would make it as popular as the Wendy’s little old lady that says “Where’s the beef?!!”  Keep up the great work GEICO!  And thanks for the entertainment!

  23. sora says:

    i remember from when i was really young, the Gecko said “Gieco not gecko”

  24. Shelly says:

    What is the Gecko’s name?

  25. Nikki says:

    We have Geico insurance. I didn’t get it because of the gecko but he’s still pretty cute. I’d love to know his name or if you guys could even give him a name. Oh and it would be adorable if he could have a girlfriend. But that would take too much focus from why he’s on the commercials. Which is to sell insurance.

  26. Janet L. Evans says:

    I love the commercial of the Gecko with his little red convertible and I would like to purchase the Gecko and the red convertible. Can you help me to achieve it. I’m a 78 year old and I am fascinated by it, sounds crazy doesn’t it? Can you help me?

  27. Greg Marsh says:

    Sosing, I’m sorry, but the Gecko in his convertible is not one of the items currently available among the GEICO products you can find for sale on geico.com. Lots of other stuff there, though, including a “piggy” bank! Weeee!

  28. Tom Bouthillet says:

    I have a visceral dislike for the gecko. Why anyone thought the little miscreant would be a good spokesperson for a company defies comprehension.

  29. Gecko lover says:

    The Gecko line dancing will make me smile everytime. ;D

  30. KatWomanUSA says:

    the newest commericial with his nephew– wth is the little guy saying?

  31. terry says:

    ok , so how is the  little guy holding out aainst the  competition. ? I wondered if you  could do a commerical  were he comments on the caveman running off with Flo?  The pondering man ones are still funny . esp elmer fudd !  the pig , no , except when he whee whee all the way home . the look of the lady being irked off . priceless!  caveman vs he   the geco ? contest ? 

  32. KC says:

    Hey, is the gecko the reason Geico became so famous?

  33. Greg Marsh says:

    @KC: We don’t give the Gecko all the credit — wouldn’t want him to get a big head … or a BIGGER head, I should say — but he arrived on the scene at the turn of the century, which was right about the time we really started growing quickly.

  34. Chris says:

    geico:  please stop with the gecko ads.  Is played out.  Its lame.  Its uncreative.  I cant stand it.

  35. robert parker says:

    i really want to know where he is from…can anyone answer this for me?
     im naming the gecko Gary.

  36. robert parker says:

    Im replying to the lame remark  Gary the gecko has made a bigger impression than my favorite rapper m and m. Ha ha. Garys the bomb

  37. Greg Marsh says:

    @robert parker: The Gecko’s from England. Or maybe Australia.

  38. Lorraine says:

    I love Martin the Gecko- he is the best.!!!