Geico Gecko Campaigns

Geico‘s Gecko won the most popular icon at Yahoo’s Advertising Week in September after a long campaign by the insurance company and its advertising agency, The Martin Agency. Read on to find out more about the Geico Gecko campaign, launched in 1999 with the voice of Kelsey Grammar.

Geico Gecko


Geico the green Gecko was launched on USA television in the 1999-2000 season. The first campaign featured the gecko, voiced by Kelsey Grammar, answering ‘wrong number’ calls from consumers looking for cheaper insurance from Geico.

Without any explanation, the second series of Gecko ads presented the green reptile trying out as the new mascot of Geico. At the Geico audition the gecko met the former Taco Bell Chihuahua mascot who says, “Oh, great, a talking gecko”. Obviously the gecko gets the job.

Creatives at the Martin Agency, Richmond, Virginia, came up with the campaign concept when they played with the common mispronunciation of the word, “Geico”. Why not make something of it. Geico became Gecko and with a few strokes of a pen the new character was brought to life.

Five years later the Geico gecko graces every page of the company web site. He works for the fourth largest private passenger auto insurer in the United States, plays with beautiful women and gets rides on bikes, in cars, even in his own custom van. It’s something like the rise of Kermit the Frog.

In 2004 Geico promoted their sponsorship of outdoor shows around the country with Geico’s custom van. The first two spots, aired in March, were titled “Getting Ready” and were followed with two “Driving” spots: “Extraordinary Events Demand An Extraordinary Individual” and “Four Legs. Eight Cylinders. Can You Say Road Trip”. Both spots conclude with the appearance of the GEICO Gecko saying, “Well, hello!” in an affable British accent.

So where do you find the ads online?

Geico in their video library feature Geico dancing the Robot and travelling to New York to kick off voting for the 2005 advertising icon of the year.

Driving

“This was a fun project,” comments 804 Creative Director /Composer Bill Grishaw. “The first spot was shot and cut to look like a movie trailer, so I just got to go full out, high impact, orchestral Hollywood -style with the music. The second spot was like an MTV ‘Road Rules’ type vibe, so I wrote an up-tempo, ska-meets-alt rock track. It was an added bonus that I got to hang out with the GEICO gecko during the whole session. He is a really great guy.”

“The footage was beautiful and made for an easy cut,” says Scott Witthaus, Senior Editor and Post-Production Supervisor for Greybox. “The entire process was enjoyable with the Martin Agency and all involved. Both spots had unique sensibilities, one being a movie trailer and the other a more quirky ‘travelogue’ feel and everyone was very happy with the end product. The hardest part of the post process was getting a flight out of New York in a blizzard after our Spirit transfer!”

Voice of Geico Gecko Updated

Geico Gecko poses on web site Kelsey Grammar, of Frasier fame, provided the voice for the first ad. From there on the British accent was provided by Dave Kelly. For the most recent Geico Gecko campaign the accent is Cockney. There’s some debate about who the actor now is. I believe it would be impossible to pick the actor from the accent as a ‘voice’ can be developed to suit the demands.

At Frametore, the animation/visual effects company responsible for the latest Geico look, there’s an explanation behind the new Cockney accent.

Lead CG Animator/Effects Supervisor Dave Hulin says, “Our role was similar to that of an acting coach. We used our CG experience to train the new Gecko guy to act cheekier and show a lot more ‘sales savvy.’ Ultimately we honed an East End geezer type performance, and his cockney accent and mannerisms make for tons of fresh comedic possibilities.”

Credits

The Geico Gecko campaign was developed at The Martin Agency, Richmond, VA by copywriter Steve Bassett, art director John Ryland, producer Brad Powell and assistant producer Emily Moore.

Filming was shot by director/DP Sunny Zhao via Dreams Factory, Richmond, with producer Tim Dowdle and executive producer Clara Lee.

Editor was Scott Witthaus at Greybox, Richmond.

Music was composed by Bill Grishaw at 804, Richmond, with executive producer Kristin O’Connor.

Colorist was Billy Gabor at Company 3, New York.

Post production/VFX was done at Rhythm + Hues, Los Angeles, by online editor Mike D’Ambrosa, animation director Craig Talmy, digital supervisor Chris Romano, lighting director Debbie Pashkoff , Flame artists Yukiko Ishiwata and Tim Miller, executive producer Amy Hassler and producer Peggy Regan.

Audio post production was done at Play, Santa Monica, by mixer John Bolen, with assistant mixers Matt Downs and Chris Hildrew.

  • http://fragileindustries.typepad.com fragileindustries

    Time for an update on this one. Inquiring minds all over the web want to know who is the new voice, the less “posh” East End London gecko who favors “pie and chips.” Dave Kelley says he isn’t doing the gecko any more, and Geico’s site isn’t telling.

  • Eva

    i like the geico commercial that has the little geko pull into the “employee of the month” car parking space. if anyone has a link to the commercial, please tell me. thanks!!

  • Charis

    I have a theory that the new voice maybe Marc Warren (of Hustle and Green Street fame)…i have no evidence what so ever to back this up except for the fact that that was the first voice that came to mind when i heard it.

    me and my sister have a bet though so anyone who could find out would be a life saver and finally end this ever growing feud hee hee!

  • Lynn

    I totally agree with Charis. I believe it is Marc Warren, too. I love that show “Hustle”.

  • Lynda

    I was willing to be that it was Ed Sanders, on Extreme Home Makeover. If you listen very carefully, it sounds a lot him. Actually, I could be just about anyone.

  • Reva

    I though the voice might be that of Ian Wright of “Lonely Planet” and “Globetrekker” fame. To know him is to love him! But terribly frustrating not to know for sure.

  • Susan

    I think it is Tim Roth, the British actor who was in Pulp fiction along with a lot of other movies.

  • Eileen

    May 11, 2006 at 10:38 PM EST.
    I think the voice of the Geico is Michael Caine. Please let me know.

  • John

    I agree with Reva…sounds like Ian Wright to me. He’s such a hoot on Globe Trekker. Enquiring minds want to know!

  • sounddude

    I’ve worked with Ed Sanders on Extreme Home Makeover and it sounds JUST like him. Ed and I have had many conversations on set and some about his accent. But the new Geico commercials have come out since I’ve seen him last so I haven’t been able to ask him (if it is him, he probably couldn’t tell me anyway). But the voice is almost identical.

    I guess we’ll just have to wait until it leaks out!

  • pilotswife

    I think the new gecko sounds like the english lad from the old Showtime series Dead Like Me…just looked up the info…his name is Callum Blue. That’s who I think it sounds like at least, however, I can hear the Ed Sanders similarity.

  • mel

    I agree with pilotswife – my sister and I both instantly thought it was Callum Blue’s voice from Dead Like Me as the Geiko Gecko.

  • Rich in Arizona

    I am in the pool with those saying Ian Wright. I would bet the farm on it!

  • Ann

    I think the voice is that of Jonathan Ross the BBC radio commentator. If it isnt him – it is a dead ringer for him!

  • T.L. Martinez

    According to the Two Percent Company web site, the voice is done by Richard Horvitz…never heard of him. This web site bashes the poor little lizard….but I happen to love him and think it’s an outstanding advertising campaign. Any commercial that stands out and is instantly recognized by a single mascot is a success to me. You may not buy their insurance, but you know who they are! Mission accomplished!
    Here’s the link to the article
    Click on Richard’s name to read his Bio.
    Cheers!

  • dixie

    definitely marc warren… no doubt

  • shannon

    i am almost positive the voice sounds exactly like mark a. shepard, “badger” from firefly.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/qewlkid9 Austin Carter

    PIE AND CHIPS!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOH FREE!!!!!

  • Barb

    The voice of the Geico gecko is a man named Dave Kelly.

  • Elinor Zetina

    The Gecko’s voice keeps reminding me of Ricky Gervais of “The Office”.

  • Kim

    The current (cockney) voice of the gecko is Jake Wood:

    http://www.answerbag.com/q_view.php/59885

  • http://theinspirationroom.com/daily Duncan

    Yes. See my June 2 2006 post on the new voice of Geico Gecko at http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2006/geico-gecko-voiced-by-jake-wood

  • Lisa

    I think the voice it done by James Martsters who is Spike from Buffy and Angel.

  • Ben

    His name is Jake Wood

  • al mcdonald

    I THINK HE REALL TALKS

  • Gerri

    Please pull those silly tv ads with “celebrities” and let the gecko do your advertising. I, and all my friends think the gecko does a great job by himself. We love the cute little fella!

  • Denise

    What is the song playing in the ad with the man in sunglasses driving through the desert with the gecko?

  • DivaD

    It’s definitely NOT Marc Warren.

  • Don McClain

    PLEASE, PLEASE, give us the little Gecko! We have enjoyed him so much – he almost seems human.

    Could you do away with the cavemen and the celebs? We don’t like them in your commercials.

    The little lizard is an absolute delight!!!!

  • TERRY WILKES

    A FRIEND HAS GEICO INSURANCE, AND HAS A LOT OF LITTLE ITEMS OF THE GECKO. HOW CAN I GET THESE ITEMS. THANKS
    WE ALL LOVE THE LITTLE GECKO.

  • TERRY WILKES

    THE GECKO LIZARD IS ABSOLUTLY GREAT. I WOULD HAVE HIM ALL OVER MY HOUSE. EVERYWHERE!!!!!!!!!!! MY GRANDCHILDREN THAT ARE TEENS LOVE HIM. TERRY WILKES

  • Ben

    Put the Gecko back on and drop the caveman, of course you know the results, but it seems like a very negative ad form a lot of view-points.

    Ssurely you can come up with more animations.

  • sarita

    My first thought was Ian Wright as well. Aggghhh! I am dying to know!

  • Molly Sue

    Hmm.. well i got into a silly argument
    over this. But, is the geico gecko classified
    as british or australian?

  • http://theinspirationroom.com/daily Duncan

    Molly Sue. The Geico Gecko is definitely not Australian.

  • Steve

    I agree with Eileen from 5/12/2006. I think it is Michael Caine. I was watching the movie “Children of men” and when Michael Caine spoke, it sounded exactly like the Geico Gecko.

  • Lois

    I think the voice of the Geico Gecko is Aiden Turner. He is on All My Children.

  • jen

    I think it’s the british guy from Globe Treker. When
    I first heard the commercial I immediately knew it had to be him. The accent and inflection is dead on with his voice.

  • ARS

    That is definitely Ian Wright, the british guy from Globe Treker.

  • Judy Starnes

    Is there an Geico Gift Frog available for purchase? Thank you.

  • Sarah

    I’m leaning towards Marc Warren as the gecko.

  • David Wood

    I may easily be wrong, but to my old ears, the voice sounds much like Davy Jones from the old sixties TV show The Monkees.

  • hiutopor

    Hello. Very interesting information! Thanks! G’night

  • marcos

    Hey every one, the gecko is voiced over by jake wood, he’s a british comedian.

  • Anjelica (Local Newt Lover)

    i love newts and geico

  • Jeff Cox

    I too am looking for the Gecko toy if possible.

  • nikkismith

    I MET THE GEICO GEKO! I HAVE HIS AUTOGRAGH TOO!!! He was at a fredrick key’s baseball game, it was sorta a birthday party for there mascot, Keyote.

  • nikkismith

    Try saying “Geico Geko” five times fast!

  • JEANNE JOHNSON

    PLEASE>>>I HAVE TO PURCHASE A GECKO GIECO!!!! LET ME KNOW IF HE IS AVAILABLE IN ANY TOY FORM FOR SALE! thanks!!

  • Diana Reyes

    I would like to know where I can buy geico the green gecko?