How Was "Geico" Named?
Government Empployees Insurance Company (GEICO) is an auto insurance company based in the United States. It was founded by Leo and Lillian Goodwin to market auto insurance directly to federal government employees and their families. GEICO was based on the assumption that such persons would constitute a more financially stable and less risky pool of potential insureds than the general public. After real-time access to computerized driving records became available in the 1970s throughout the United States, GEICO gradually began to insure the general public as well.
GEICO's advertising strategy incorporates a saturation-level amount of print (primarily mail circulars) and television parody advertisements, as well as radio advertisements.
The ads sometimes focus on the company's mascot, the GEICO talking gecko, created by The Martin Agency and most recently a CGI creature generated by Rhythm and Hues Studios. The gecko first appeared in 2000 during the Screen Actors Guild strike that ruled out live actors. In the first commercial, where people kept calling the gecko as a wrong number for GEICO, the gecko was given a high-class British accent because it would be unexpected, according to The Martin Agency's Steve Bassett. In current commercials the gecko's accent is more working-class, to further "humanize" him. "As (computer animation) got better and as we got to know the character better, we did a few things," says Steve Bassett, creative director at The Martin Agency. "We wanted to make him a little more guy-next-door. And he looks a lot more real than he's looked before.
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