‘Greatest Spokesperson’ not really too great

It's been 10 years since Geico unexpectedly hit spokesperson gold with its animated gecko, who was originally intended just to kill time during a Screen Actors Guild strike. Since then, other insurers have struggled to find a face that would resonate nearly as well as that charming Cockney lizard. Progressive finally hit paydirt with its quirky cashier, Flo. Now, Nationwide and ad agency McKinney are trying to trump them all by rolling out "The World's Greatest Spokesperson in the World." It's a campaign that got off to a strong start with these two bizarre Web-only spots, which built up the spokesman's epic (and fictional) backstory. But now that his day-to-day TV ads are up and running (see one below, and another after the jump), does he have the staying power to stomp the gecko and give Flo the heave-ho? Probably not. Sure, he's brash and strangely compelling, but he just doesn't have that subtle charm that seems to make the other two (plus Geico's cavemen) fan favorites. More important, his scenery-chewing shtick makes it almost impossible to understand what he's actually telling you about the product. Nationwide may be on your side, but this guy's probably just on your nerves.

—Posted by David Griner