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A few ads ago, Geico reintroduced its famed Caveman character, luring him out of his comfort zone to appear in what he thought was a documentary about him. He was wrong.
Geico was instead interviewing the Caveman for a documentary about the insurance company’s most famous mascot, the Gecko, who was introduced in 1999.
At long last, that 15-minute documentary is here. The film, “Legend of the Lizard,” features unaired footage and never-before-seen interviews, getting to the heart of who this affable reptile really is. The film, done in collaboration with The Martin Agency, shows the real history of the animated spokeslizard.
According to the film, the Gecko was obsessed with insurance at a young age. His “auntie” tells of how he always had a penchant for insurance over anything else, and she encouraged him to follow his path. We even briefly see footage and photos of him as a young lizard.
His football coach is featured prominently as well, saying he was best in “coverage.” We learn that the coach was highly influential in the Gecko’s formative years. Coach Burnette recalls in the doc how he told the little lizard, “Life is hard, but insurance shouldn’t be.” He also holds up his tiny jersey and mini helmet.
The film visits the Gecko’s childhood best friend in his unnamed hometown. Jacob Lowden is a normal guy who backs up that the Gecko was on a singular path into the insurance business.
“I was always getting written up for detentions, and he was getting written up in the local paper for excellence in insurance,” says Lowden.
His coworkers at Geico are interviewed, including an admiring woman who is filmed in front of one of the Easter eggs of the film, a picture of the “Hump Day” camel.
“We initially set out to do the documentary about the Gecko. And then when you set out to do a documentary, you want to pull in people who are their colleagues and who have lived similar experiences to them,” Dustin Dodd, creative director and art director at The Martin Agency, told ADWEEK.
The Caveman gets his time on camera as well. He is seen walking his many rescue dogs and saying that his life turned out great, though he shows obvious disdain for the Gecko in a passive-aggressive way.
“Frankly, it’s a little annoying, with the billboards and the pictures and the TV,” says the Caveman.
Things get really weird when the documentary crew visits “Gecko Con,” a cosplay convention of Gecko uber fans. There’s also a Gecko sneaker drop and a Gecko cereal to show the height of his fandom.
Four 30-second teasers for the documentary will air in the pregame before the Super Bowl. Over the past month, Geico has been rolling out the “green carpet” ahead of the premiere, teasing its release like a traditional film, including with an official trailer and IMDB page. The Gecko is also sharing archival tidbits on his own Instagram feed and Caveman complaints across the brand’s social channels. There are even scathing film reviews from the Caveman on Letterbox.