Did It Work?

Geico’s total sales reached $5.6 billion in 2000, a year after the company first used the gecko. By ’03, the company’s sales had reached $7.8 billion, a 39 percent increase, according to Hoover’s.

Since investor Warren Buffett bought the company in 1996, its advertising budget has ballooned from $20 million that year to $290 million last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

The gecko tied for favorite icon during Advertising Week this year. The company’s “Good News” campaign has become part of the cultural vernacular. Teenage Research Unlimited listed its ads as the favorite among teens this year, topping Budweiser, Citibank, M&Ms and Coca-Cola.

The variety of campaigns has helped transform a once boring category into a rich source of humor. The work has prompted Geico’s competitors to sharpen their campaigns, according to analysts. Geico has moved from the nation’s seventh-largest provider of auto insurance in ’96 to the fourth largest in ’04.