The Geico gecko has a new sidekick—though neither of them appear too pleased with the arrangement. This week, the insurance brand will begin airing a series of spots starring actor Will Arnett alongside its lizard mascot.
Geico’s new ads pair a celebrity with the gecko mascot for first time
The “Frenemy” spots, appropriately named as Arnett and the gecko jockey for favor, are designed to highlight Geico’s role as more than an auto insurer. One of the ads touts renters’ insurance, while another highlights the savings involved with bundling home and auto, which has long been a promotional tactic of insurers including Geico and rivals such as Progressive.
In total, Geico is running four spots that will appear in both 30-and 15-second versions. In addition to broadcast TV and streaming, the work will also run on social channels including Twitter and TikTok.
The ads, which come from longtime creative agency partner the Martin Agency and Framestore, are notable in that they include a celebrity beyond the gecko—a fan favorite, according to a recent Ad Age poll. Typically, the brand’s commercials only feature the lizard, who first began appearing as a mascot in 1999.
New media agency, category challenges
The campaign is one of the first from Geico’s new media agency Mediabrands. The IPG-owned shop was selected to handle the insurer’s media business in February following a five-month review. Horizon had previously managed such duties for more than a quarter of a century.
Chevy Chase, Maryland-based Geico is up against a challenging backdrop in the insurance category. Higher rates, combined with the increased costs of everyday essentials, are forcing consumers to rethink their insurance needs. Indeed, JD Power recently reported that more consumers are shopping for auto insurance amid the price rise. In addition, JD Power’s quarterly report, released last month, found that Progressive held the largest market share for personal auto insurers, topping Geico.
It's early to analyze how the pressurized market is impacting ad spend. Geico, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, ranked as the most-advertised brand in the U.S. in 2021 with a media spend exceeding $1.4 billion, according to Ad Age’s Datacenter. Competitors Progressive, Allstate and Liberty Mutual ranked No. 4, No. 9 and No. 10 in media spend. Rankings for 2022 are due this June.