- Geico released a nearly 15-minute mock documentary profiling its Gecko mascot, part of the insurance firm’s efforts to drum up discussion around Super Bowl LVIII, per details shared with Marketing Dive.
- “Legend of the Lizard,” which parodies documentary profiles in the vein of ESPN’s “30 for 30,” is available to watch now on YouTube, with a version coming later to TikTok. The campaign takes a page from movie promotions with a trailer and an official IMDb page.
- Geico will run four 30-second ads cut from the documentary as part of the CBS pregame show on Super Bowl Sunday. Eschewing the conventional route of creating a single in-game spot for the NFL championship, the brand in press materials said the more expansive media play gives the Gecko “the screen time he deserves.”
“Legend of the Lizard” is the culmination of a campaign Geico kicked off late last year by bringing back a Caveman mascot that had been on ice since 2018. The strategy shows the insurance giant trying to capture buzz around Super Bowl LVIII without the aid of a pricey in-game ad. Geico will run four commercials as part of host network CBS’ pregame show Sunday with enticing titles such as “His Rise,” “His Drive,” “His Secret” and “His Influence.” Longtime partner The Martin Agency is behind the effort.
In the launch commercial from December, the Caveman is gripped with nightmares since receiving a letter to participate in an upcoming Geico documentary, summoning bad memories of old ads that turned his intelligence into a punchline and piquing interest in the project that would eventually be revealed as “Legend of the Lizard.” A follow-up spot shows the Caveman and his wife reacting in surprise as a teaser for the mockumentary reveals it’s not actually about setting the Caveman’s record straight, but instead celebrating the Gecko.
The full documentary positions the Caveman as an adversarial talking head who doesn’t take insurance seriously in contrast to an otherwise glowing profile that espouses the value of covering things like home and auto. The fictional primitive has taken to the film journaling platform Letterboxd, mostly reviewing movies that feature fellow cavemen (“Encino Man” is a favorite, “10,000 BC” not so much) as part of the rollout. In addition, he is airing complaints on Geico’s social channels.
“Riddle me this: If it’s so easy a caveman can do it, why is he working so hard?” the Caveman says in an interview on the Gecko, calling back the old tagline that has led him to “years of therapy.”
“Legend of the Lizard” includes a comical level of detail, tracking the Gecko from his early school years to his enshrinement as an icon after landing as the Geico representative in 1999. The Gecko’s fame results in events like Gecko-Con, a fan convention drawing acolytes dressed as different versions of the mascot that have appeared in commercials over the years, as well as hyped sneaker drops. The documentary is peppered with interviews with figures like a childhood best friend and a sports coach. The Gecko is sharing additional lore tidbits on social media to round out the push.