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The gecko fights back

watching-tvA deal with insurance giant GEICO means a Richmond lawyer’s television ads making fun of the company’s advertising characters are off the air.

Geoff McDonald was one of the lawyers around the country using advertisements that mocked the Aussie gecko, the sensitive caveman and the squealing pig made famous by GEICO’s ads.

Now, the parody ads are gone, the victim of a confidential deal between a Nashville legal marketing firm and the insurance company.

McDonald told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he got the word last week – all law firms using the parody commercials have to pull them off the air. McDonald complied.

The agreement to shelve the ads came after GEICO lawyers sent a “very friendly version of a cease-and-desist letter,” a legal marketer told the paper.

Jimmy Bewley said taking such disputes to court can be risky.

“If the judge laughs, it might be a parody,” he told the Times-Dispatch.

The GEICO letter said the legal marketing commercial presented the GEICO characters “in a negative pejorative light,” and “may tarnish the image of its much-beloved trademarks by exploiting them for commercial purposes in a manner utterly at odds with Geico’s own use of them as venerable icons for its insurance business,” the paper reported.

Bewley said the gecko ad is not the first that his firm has done that has been taken off the air. His company made a parody of the Allstate Insurance “Mayhem” character, “and pretty much the exact same thing happened. We made a settlement with them, too,” he told the paper.

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