Animal Rights

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

|


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.