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?