Pinocchio and his recognizable long nose were in South Pasadena Wednesday, the wooden puppet trying not to tell a lie as part of a commercial taped for Geico Insurance.
Seated in a car, the fictional character was handed a citation by a police officer, played by an actor, as the cameras were rolling. After taking it, a distraught Pinocchio sounded his horn and became visibly upset.
It was all in fun, of course, as Geico, known for its zany, humorous 30-second spots, continues to use humor to let people know they can save on insurance. Other Geico commercials bent on comedy show a lobster that has joined a hot tub party, a walrus playing a hockey goalie, and a warehouse manager using musicians to help calm her nerves around the office.
Yet, the latest in the series of spots shows Pinocchio frustrated holding a ticket along busy Mission Street.
It’s a magical accomplishment, say some, that Geico seems to dazzle the public by continually turning out humorous commercials, including the one this week staged in South Pasadena, to drive business.
Credit the Martin Agency, the creator of the ads, along with a little fellow who has also made a remarkable name for himself over the years. A talking Gecko, who speaks with and English Cockney accent, serves as the company spokesperson. Rumored to be named Martin, after the agency’s owner, he first appeared in 1999 during the Screen Actors Guild strike that prevented the use of live actors.
After 150 commercials, the Geico gecko has become one of the most recognizable commercial mascots in television today, third in a survey only to No. 2 Colonel Sanders and the Starbucks’ green two-tailed mermaid, the most recognizable product design in America.
The beloved gecko clearly outranked his mascot competition among insurance companies in the U.S. when it came to “who is the most likeable,” beating out some heavyweights in Flo from Progressive, the General from General Insurance and the Aflac duck.