‘GEICO Gecko’ Creator Ken Spera Joins Santy as CCO

By Erik Oster 

Scottsdale, Arizona-based agency Santy appointed Ken Spera as chief creative officer and will relocate from Detroit to join the agency. He replaces Bret Koehler, who will move into a position overseeing a new Los Angeles-based service division at Santy to be announced later this summer.

Spera joins Santy after nearly sixteen years at Doner, where he served as senior vice president, creative director. While with Doner he worked with clients including Progressive Insurance, Serta International, Mazda North America, Bush Beans, JBL, Fiat, The UPS Store and Minute Maid. Before that, Spera gained notoriety for creating the long-running GEICO Gecko mascot while with The Martin Agency after being part of the two-man team that won the account. He spent ten years with that shop, rising to the role of senior art director before leaving to join Doner. While there he worked with clients including Mercedes Benz, Saab, Bank One, Sprint and Blue Cross Blue Shield in addition to GEICO.

Spera was inducted into the Advertising Icon Hall of Fame in 2003 and given a place on the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame the following year. 


“There are a lot of incredibly creative minds out there, but Ken Spera is the whole package, and that’s a rarity,” said Santy president Dan Santy. “He’s creativity on steroids, has a trophy case that may not fit in his new office, and he’s humble. That’s the stuff that inspires employees and takes brands to new levels.”

“My timing may be off making a move to Arizona in the mid-summer, but it’s certainly spot on with Santy. There’s an energy there that I’ve seen before, and I’m excited to take it to new creative levels,” Spera added.

Spera’s departure is the third recent high-profile change atop Doner’s creative department. Just yesterday, the agency hired Eric Weisberg of JWT to serve as global CCO and promoted Rob Strasberg to creative chairman.