Back in October (when this PRNewser writer dressed as Flo for Halloween), we discussed the popularity of brand mascots like Progressive‘s Flo, Allstate‘s Mayhem and the GEICO Gecko — and what it means for a company when a character created solely for the purpose of selling a product becomes something of a pop culture icon.

Relevant research at the time indicated that, while the public’s love for these quirky insurance pushers undoubtedly helped bring some personality to an otherwise drab product, it didn’t necessarily always correlate with sales.

Now, thanks to a revealing interview in AdAge, we’ve learned that there may be a more direct correlation between the Gecko and his company’s sales. The spokes-lizard was never intended to be the longstanding fixture he has become. But, as GEICO CMO Ted Ward explains in the interview, the ever-improving marketing tool known as data analytics made it clear that The Gecko was making an impact:

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