Animal Rights

Geico Fires Phone Prankster, But Gecko Still OK. Repeat: The Gecko Is OK.

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Does this look like a gecko who would say no to a Tea Party?

Sorry to start out with a correction, but in Reason's tax day post on the feud between FreedomWorks and Geico spokesvoice Lance Baxter (AKA D.C. Douglas), we wrongly stated that Douglas is the voice of the insurance company's beloved cockney pitchgecko. As your own ears will tell you if you listen to Douglas' loopy phone calls with the limited-government advocacy group, Douglas is the voice of the commercials' outtros, not the voice of Martin the Gecko.

So we can report without sorrow that Douglas has not been invited back for future Geico commercials. HuffPost has the story. In a PR Newswire account, Douglas carves out a new canon of civil law for "questionable" behavior:

Mr. Douglas consulted with several Los Angeles attorneys and has been advised that FreedomWorks' actions were questionable. Though he's not planning on spending money to sue the organization, he's open to any attorneys taking on this case pro bono. "We can't let these kinds of tactics become the norm in our country. If we do, then anybody can lose their job just for voicing an opinion."

The current voice of the gecko is Jake Wood, a loyal employee who has made no political trouble for the company. Martin the Gecko has spoken out on questions about his accent at a Geico blog:

Some of you write to ask why I have an accent. Others want to know why it is that accent. I dunno; I guess everybody has to sound like something. It would certainly be hard to get the word out about GEICO making the "clicking" sound many geckos make. Isn't it enough that you know a talking gecko, especially one who can help you save on car insurance?

Despite (or maybe because of) the controversy, I seem to be making a lasting impression. As for me, I'm not concerned with geography or nationality. I'll just continue to "accent" the savings with GEICO!

USA Today explained how Martin the Gecko went through various permutations, including several versions of an uppercrust posh accent, before settling into the soothing grooves of the East End. He also had a physical makeover in the middle part of the decade:

Now that the gecko has taken the lead in Geico advertising, however, he's had a subtle makeover. At the start of this year, The Martin Agency gave him bigger, more-expressive eyes, more humanlike movements, a shorter body and a slight heft to his shoulders. His voice is now provided by one announcer who speaks with a more common English accent vs. a rotation of three actors who spoke using more upper-class English.

Long may he warm our hearts with his side-splitting cockney antics.

Thanks to Ari Spanier.

NEXT: Attack of the Orbs

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  1. You know the Lizard People rule the planet, don’t you?

      1. That’s supposed to be a link to:

        http://www.reptoids.com/

        But a href= /a seems to not do a damn thing for me any more.

    1. Dur…is the Space Pope reptilian?

  2. D.C. Douglas is a Neanderthal.

    (Fine, you come up with a better caveman joke.)

    1. D.C. Douglas is so easy, even a caveman could do him.

  3. It has a name? Also I seem to remember it originally had a Midwestern American accent.

  4. If I *ever* encounter “your friendly local GEICO agent” — on my roof, in my refrigerator, anywhere — he’d better hope he has insurance!

    Blimey, I feel better now.

  5. East End? He sounds more suave than most Cockneys I’ve heard. I mean, I can’t imagine him saying “Oy, you fucking c*nts, save some beans an’ honey wif GEICO insurance.”

    1. We’re libertarians here. Go ahead and type the word cunt.

    2. “”East End? He sounds more suave than most Cockneys I’ve heard.””

      That’s so Americans can understand what the heck he’s saying.

    3. the insurance company’s beloved cockney pitchgecko

      I dunno. According to the commercials, and especially the one that verifies the lizard’s homeland, he’s actually from:

    4. Arq ul froooght ul gommught wallil weeet ep ovvibim Geico mnojjar plypt ep 15% aeght sheasheah llodsh ul arq froo grznb!

      1. Obviously faux Welsh. Too many vowels.

  6. …he’s open to any attorneys taking on this case pro bono.

    How about for a share of the residuals?

  7. East End? He sounds more suave than most Cockneys I’ve heard.

    By “East End” they mean that’s where he picks up trade.

  8. “You can save up to 100% of your salary, just by being a dick.”

    I hope Progressive Flo never goes on a bender and starts drunk calling. You just *know* she’d be a fun date.

    1. You have such strange tastes. Are you sure you’re a guy and not a confused lesbian?

      1. Lindsay Lohan went blonde and crazy (in that order), and Gates McFadden and Gillian Anderson are getting a tad hoary these days, so us redhead aficianados have to move on.

      2. Apparently Flo has a lot of fans, whether you think it a strange taste or not: http://adweek.blogs.com/adfrea…..sexy-.html

      3. You have such strange tastes.

        I like people with vaginas, which is probably why I like you too.

  9. Normally VO talent, as well as reporters, anchorpeople, pitchmen, and spokespeople, have it in their personal service contract not to do anything that might make them a news story. Anything that draws attention to the company but not the product is a no-no.
    You may remember Grimace’s comments on the Watts riots, or the Michelen Man’s drunken YouTube rant…

  10. I once called Geico for a quote and man it was unbelievably high, almost double what I got from State Farm. I suppose that’s to be expected though, anything with even the words “government employees” involved is bound to drive up costs (Goverment Employees Insurance Company).

    1. They have to pay for that talking Gecko commercial which is on 10 times a day, that isn’t cheap

      1. Seriously, any insurance company that buys immense quantities of ads obviously has more money than it should. I stick to USAA.

  11. I’ve heard Richard Gere has been looking for that gecko. I’m not sure why.

  12. Just so long as they don’t fire the guy who asks; “Does a ten pound bag of flour make a really big biscuit”!

    He’s just dreamy!

  13. And no, Douglas is NOT the tag announcer on the spots that feature the gecko, either. He voiced the celebrity-driven campaign that is now defunct. And was just hired to record for a new, as yet un-aired- campaign at the time of his ‘firing.’ The information is out there. Please don’t continue to misrepresent this situation. . if for no other reason than the guy who DOES do the “15 minutes could save you..” tags is getting smeared today.

  14. All I know is that the Cavemen tv show was funny as hell! I’m still pissed it got canceled. I’ve got the 6 shows that aired recorded and watch them when nothing else is on.

    1. We feel your pain.

  15. The Teabaggers were going to recruit the Cave Men to counter DC Douglas’ opinions, but then they realized it would be a tacit endorsement of evolution.

    1. Run Forrest Run!

    2. And advocating small, unintrusive, fiscally responsible government has exactly what to do with evolution?

      1. The same thing it has to do with terrorism.

    3. You’re funny, Forret. I bet you have a sense of humor, too…

  16. I’m really enjoying this fracas. There are lefties popping blood vessels all over the net in outrage that being an obnoxious jerk can have any consequences.

    -jcr

  17. “We can’t let these kinds of tactics become the norm in our country. If we do, then anybody can lose their job just for voicing an opinion.”

    Imagine the horrors that would result if people could be blacklisted for political reasons! Like, I dunno, being opposed to gay marriage or whatever.

  18. Gechos are capitalist fascist Nazis.

    Don’t believe me? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7upG01-XWbY

  19. Yeah, what FreedomWorks did to Douglas was pretty disgusting, much like what various Proposition 8 opponents did when they arrranged for people who supported that proposal to lose *their* jobs.

    1. i generally agree that people should not be punished for their political views, but there is a difference between being fired for quietly donating to a cause that most americans agree with, and leaving a bizarre voicemail rant which most of your customers would find distasteful

  20. My London-born grandmother assures me that while his accent is working class, it’s neither East End nor Cockney.

    1. I agree it’s not Cockney. I think it’s called Estuary English, or ‘middle class people trying to sound working class’. Like Jamie Oliver.

  21. The whole British accent situation is so confusing.

    It’s so much more simple here in the states.

    Southern accent = moron

    New York accent = dick

    Boston accent = meathead

    California accent = skank or airhead

    Ebonics accent = makes a lot of noise at the movie theater

    1. Texas accent = hated former President

      1. You mean LBJ? Right on.

    2. Ooh, you are a *devil*. You oughta be stuffed with nails, you ought!

  22. Yeah, cute Gecko. But don’t buy your insurance from Geico…what they spend in advertising they get from screwing people over claims…take it from someone who has been there.

  23. My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. The Gekko is OK. I repeat, the Gekko is OK.

  24. You left one out, Higgins…

    Midwest accent = TV News Anchor

  25. “We can’t let these kinds of tactics become the norm in our country. If we do, then anybody can lose their job just for voicing an opinion.”

    Anyone remember Jimmy the Greek?

  26. Yeah, so the HuffPo people are going ballistic and calling for their own Geico boycott unless he’s rehired. So I mentally put myself into the role of the Geico President. I lean back in my leather chair…

    So, whatever we do, some side is pissed off, Obama supporters or Tea Partiers.

    Now take into account Douglas is easily replaced.

    Now take into account he threw the first punch.

    Now take into account he was stupid enough to to use his real name and telephone number.

    Now take into account we have no guarantee he won’t embarrass the company again.

    Now take into account we’ve already fired him and we’ll look like real bitches if we knuckle under now. By firing him under a contract clause violation we can maintain we’re non partisan; if we reverse that, we’re taking a political side.

    Naw, Douglas is toast.

    1. Wait, if you’re the president of Geico, at this point aren’t you supposed to call in your cockney East End Stepney Australian gecko for advice, and then engage in some low-key but amusing badinage?

      1. Of course the president brings the gecko in to discuss it. And the lizard relates a humorous ancedote about how, before he worked for the company, he’d get all sorts of annoying misdirected phone calls from people trying to save money on their car insurance. They’d even pull him out of the shower. But even then he was always polite and never called anyone morons.

    2. So, whatever we do, some side is pissed off, Obama supporters or Tea Partiers.

      Obama supporters : public transportation :: tea partiers : pickup trucks, RVs, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, etc.

      The gecko says–no contest.

  27. Lance Baxter used the term ‘mentally retarded’ in his voice mail.

    Didn’t Obama sign an executive order requiring the nearest Kennedy to beat offenders with a bottle of scotch for that?

  28. DC will be just fine.

    He’ll find a lot of work doing voice overs for smear campaigns in liberal political ads this fall.

  29. Just another fine example of liberal ignorance in action (“Duh, I think I’ll leave my phone number on this nastygram.”). It’s no wonder that polls out this week found that the Tea Partiers are better educated and earn higher salaries. But, then again, there really isn’t much competition from the liberals, is there?

  30. Intros, outtros, what’s the difference? The man registered his message as a private citizen, not as a representative of GEICO. First Amendment, folks. And the guy loses his job? Are you all crackpots?

  31. Sorry about my previous comment, although it is true that the message was not left as one coming from GEICO. It was an individual act–a dumb one–but the First Amendment allows it in any case. And it IS a crackpot idea that anyone should lose a job over it.

  32. I love the GEICO lizard. Can’t believe what an outrage this created!

  33. I think his recent response video sums it up perfectly:
    http://www.myvoiceoverguy.com/…..edomworks/

  34. Glad the gecko is ok, seems you can get fired pretty easily nowadays, even lizards aren’t safe any more. I wonder what Tom Cruse and John Travolta would make of this? Don’t they believe that the world is ruled by giant lizards or something?

  35. Glad the gecko is ok, seems you can get fired pretty easily nowadays, even lizards aren’t safe any more. I wonder what Tom Cruse and John Travolta would make of this? Don’t they believe that the world is ruled by giant lizards or something?

  36. Gates McFadden and Gillian Anderson are getting a tad hoary these days, so us redhead aficianados have to move on.

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