The Geico Gecko: A Beginnings Story


What does an adrenaline-seeking swine, a well-mannered neanderthal and a green-backed lizard all have in common? They can all save you 15 percent or more on car insurance – by switching to Geico…

Though it is currently the second largest auto insurer in the US, Geico is best known for its long lineup of creative ad campaigns. Their commercials are quite hard to miss. In fact, it seems impossible to get through a commercial break these days without one of their ads popping up.

Over the years, Geico introduced the public to an array of new characters and story-lines. Before the Cavemen and Maxwell the Pig, there was the original and most identifiable of the Geico icons – the Gecko.

So what was it that inspired the creation of the Geico Gecko? Why turn to a fictional character to promote the company?  Though the Gecko was quite literally born for the job…ultimately he has the unions to thank…

Geico Ads

On May 1, 2000, Hollywood was brought to its knees with the beginning of what would be known as, The Commercials Strike of 2000. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) called for its 135,000 members to go hang their hats, temporarily of course – and so the cameras stopped rolling.

Entire industries had been preparing and weighing their options for the likelihood of a strike. Some companies dug up previously used commercials and others scraped together production staff to fill in for the actors. Geico, decided to go a different route – Computer Generated Imagery (CGI).

Using the wonders of CGI, Geico created the fresh new face of auto insurance – the Gecko. Oh and did I mention he comes union-free.


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