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 Advertising Mascots - Animals

Geico Gecko - Six-inch green computer-animated lizard seen on a series of successful Geico Car Insurance commercials at the beginning of the Millennium.

Geico Gecko

In the earlier commercials, pesky phone callers were confusing the Gecko's phone book listing with the Geico Car Insurance Company. Speaking in a British accent (Dave Kelly), the irritated Gecko voiced his discontent with the intrusive consumers looking for cheaper insurance. Actor Kelsey Grammer supplied the original voice for the Geico Gecko in the first ad. English actor Jake Wood, 33, supplies the Cockney accent in the latest batch of Geico commercials.

Later, in the series of ad, the Gecko decides that if he can't beat 'em, he'll just try to join the company as an official mascot. At the Geico audition, the Gecko lizard meets the former Taco Bell Chihuahua mascot who steps out of forced retirement to also audition for the role of Geico mascot. When the dog sees the Geico lizard as potential competition, he says "Oh, great, a talking gecko."

Geico Gecko

The Geico Gecko character was created by the Martin Agency, a Richmond, Virginia based ad firm. The latest Gecko animation is supplied by Framestore, a New York-based company.

The Gecko debuted in 1999 for Geico, a Berkshire Hathaway-owned insurance company based in Washington, D.C. The tagline for the Geico commercials reads: "Fifteen minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.

Geico Squirrel adTRIVIA NOTE: A follow-up of very funny 30-second Geico ads appeared in 2001. The series of three spots were called "Squirrel", "Car Pool" and "Wuxia." The "Squirrel spot (written by Joe Lawson and Raymond McKinney and art directed by Tye Harper) shows a couple of squirrels playing chicken on a country road that causes a car to swerve off the road and crash. Thrilled with their results, the giggling squirrels give each other a high-five for surviving the ordeal.

The "Car Pool" spot (created by copywriter Anne Marie Hite and art director Clairborne Riley) featured a plump working mother who apparently has no car insurance. As she arrives at her daughter's school on foot pretending to be a car, the mother honks an air horn while displaying a bumper sticker on her rear end that reads: "My child is an honor student. When a youthful bystander asks "Is that your mother?", the woman's mortified child claims not to know her.

And a spot called "Wuxia" (written by Joe Lawson and Raymond McKinney and Art Directed by Tye Harper) parodies the Ang Lee movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) as salesmen perform aerobatic martial arts moves while they process insurance paperwork. When a policy holder inquires "How does Geico process my claims so quickly?", an insurance man replies "Ancient martial arts secret from the Wuxia (an ancient text)."

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