Everyone is familiar with the gecko from the
GEICOcommercials. The charismatic little lizard has been appearing on our TV screens for over 20 years, and has even published a book!
After more than 150 very effective commercials, we know how much GEICO can save you on
car insurance, but where did the gecko come from? Does he have a name? And what is that accent all about?
What is the GEICO Gecko’s name?
As explained by
HotCars, the gecko’s name is "Martin." This was recently confirmed by GEICO. He is reportedly named after The Martin Agency, the advertising company that created him back in 1999.
Interestingly, Martin’s name has never come up in any of his GEICO commercials, and for many years, he was informally called "Gordon the Gecko"—which does have a nice ring to it.
So how does a gecko come to be the mascot for an insurance company? Hotcars explains that "Gecko" was a common mispronunciation of the company name, "GEICO." This was mentioned to The Martin Agency during a brainstorming session, and a short time later, the GEICO Gecko was born.
The timing was especially fortuitous, as the idea coincided with a Screen Actors Guild strike that prevented the use of live actors in TV commercials. A gecko, as it turned out, was the perfect replacement.
Note, Martin isn’t a real gecko. He isn’t even a real cartoon gecko, but an amalgamation of several reptile species which were all used for inspiration.
Where is the GEICO Gecko’s accent from?
GEICO, which actually stands for Government Employees Insurance Company, is an American car insurance company with its HQ in Maryland. The gecko’s first TV appearance on August 29, 1999, was voiced by American actor Kelsey Grammar.
Since then the GEICO Gecko’s accent has changed, and he is now voiced by English comedian Jake Wood. It isn’t the clipped, royal accent you might typically associate with an English character on TV though. GEICO’s Gecko has a friendly, East End London accent, which is an attempt by the ad agency to give him more of an "average guy" feel.
Other car insurance mascots
GEICO isn’t the only
car insurance companyto have a recurring mascot on its TV ads. Far from it. Some others include the Aflac Duck, Mayhem from Allstate, Jake from State Farm, Flo from Progressive, and The General from (you’ve guessed it) The General!
Few of them however, have rivalled the success of GEICO’s Gecko mascot when it comes to raising brand awareness. He was voted America’s favourite advertising icon back in 2005, and since then the company has gone from strength to strength.
In fact, GEICO recently surpassed Allstate to become the second-largest provider in the U.S. car insurance market (behind
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