Valve and Geico team up for a Portal-themed insurance ad

The Gecko meets GlaDOS.
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— “January 13, 2022”

Geico is a US-based insurance company famous for its Cockney gecko mascot. Valve is a US-based videogame company that made a pair of puzzle games starring a deranged, malevolent AI. Have you ever wondered what would happen if the two of them came together? Of course you haven’t, because why would they, right?

Well, they did. Earlier this month, Geico released a new advertisement entitled “The Gecko Visits Portal,” and that’s exactly what it is: The gecko has somehow wound up in the Aperture Science labs, and he’s looking for help to get out—from GlaDOS. Of course, the villainous machine is reluctant to offer aid, and things quickly go awry in a fashion that will no doubt be familiar to anyone who’s played Portal—but not before money is saved!

It’s a weird, very random crossover that apparently happened out of the blue: Valve said Geico reached out about a collaboration, and Valve went for it. But randomness is kind of what Geico does. Other recent ads for the company are based on machine learning, an Old West shootout gone wrong, sea turtles, and an Animal in the attic. For my money it’s not quite up to the level of Allstate’s “Mayhem” campaign, but it’s effective: I may not be interested in buying insurance, but it’s all so damned strange that I feel compelled to watch.

This actually isn’t Geico’s first videogame collaboration: It also recently did an Angry Birds crossover.

I’s interesting that Geico appears to be targeting older games for its ads—Angry Birds debuted in 2009, smack in between Portal (2007) and Portal 2 (2011). My guess is that it’s a demographic thing: People in the market for insurance these days probably aren’t gaming as much as they were a decade ago, and this is where the nostalgia lies.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, that is in fact Ellen McLain, the real voice of GlaDOS, in the ad.

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