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The Martin Agency: Geckos, Camels and Cavemen

Ask any old timer from the Mad Men era what they think of modern advertising, and there’s a good chance they’ll scoff in your face (trust us, we tried). But one brand that can’t be denied, at least in their effectiveness, is GEICO. And perhaps the most interesting facet of the brand is that it can take so many dissimilar forms, yet always maintains recognizability. And it’s all thanks to The Martin Agency.

It’s not every day that a play on words makes for successful advertising. But then again, there’s the GEICO Gecko. He’s the one who taught us, in his cheeky British accent, that, “15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.” In 1999, he adorably announced to the world, “I am a gecko, not GEICO. Please stop calling me.” The purpose of launching him as a brand icon was not only to give GEICO a “human voice.” but to resolve one of the brand’s main pain points: people just could not get their name right.

The Geico Gecko

“So easy, a caveman can do it,” was another sub-campaign from Martin that gained lasting success. These humorous anecdotes showed “real,” sharp-dressing Neanderthals who felt personally victimized by GEICO’s advertising tagline.

Other notable characters with memorable lines from GEICO’s wacky campaigns include the Hump Day Camel (“Guess what day it is!”), Maxwell the Pig (“Do piggies really cry ‘wee, wee, wee’ all the way home?) and countless other single spot stars.

GEICO wasn’t the first insurance commercial to create memorable messages through memorable characters. The Aflac duck, obnoxious as he may be, really, really wanted you to know to know about supplemental insurance. And Flo’s chipper demeanor commands attention in order to inform viewers about saving hundreds with side-by-side comparisons and the Name Your Price® Tool,