Why are insurance ads everywhere? : Planet Money Years ago advertising was dominated by cars and beer. Today on the show, how a simple slogan and a talking gecko helped the insurance industry become one of the most dominant forces in advertising. Now, we're all living with the consequences. | Fill out our listener survey here

The Gecko Effect

The Gecko Effect

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Erika Goldring/Getty Images for ACM
Martin the GEICO gecko
Erika Goldring/Getty Images for ACM

These days it's rare to see a commercial break that doesn't include a mascot trying to sell you some insurance. Advertising teams developed the mascots — their names, quirks, and even personalities — all so we might remember the companies they represent.

But things weren't always this way. In the 1970s and '90s, insurance ads didn't take up so much air time, and the ads that were broadcast tended to be boring and serious, focusing on how insurance would make you feel safe and secure in a world filled with risk.

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Today, how a simple slogan and a talking gecko reshaped advertising. And now, we're all living with the consequences.

Music: Viva Florida, Agent Monte Carlo, You're the Only One, Dinner Party, and Jack Y Gil

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