Looking back at Little Richard’s ad legacy

In 2006, Little Richard starred in a Geico commercial created by The Martin Agency, out of Richmond, Va. The commercial is in tune with the insurance company’s comedic sensibilities. Little Richard plays the translator to a Geico customer, who tells the story of a Thanksgiving accident. Little Richard imbues the story with his over-the-top musicality. 

“I honestly think it’s probably one of our most famous, if not most famous, testimonials,” Steve Bassett, Martin senior VP and group creative director, said Saturday in a statement. “We shot it in a kitchen in L.A., with one camera that necessitated we get it all right in one clean take. You have to remember we were pairing him up with a real person who had never been on camera or in a commercial before. I believe we did about 55 takes before calling it a wrap. Little Richard never missed a line or a beat, and he kept the atmosphere positive.”

“Little Richard and I were like best buds,” added Adam Stockton, Martin creative director. “He was such a gentleman and was up for anything.”

Chuck Woolery, the gameshow host, tweeted about his time co-starring with Little Richard in a Lipton commercial. Woolery recalled how Little Richard played his son in an absurdist farce about a family preparing dinner, also starring 80s celebrities Sally Jesse Raphael and Pat Morita. 

In 1992, Richard carried Cindy Crawford in a cringey commercial for Revlon’s Charlie perfume. The song in the ad is reminiscent of “Good Golly Miss Molly,” but with Crawford’s tone-deaf accompaniment it is a disaster. Still, Little Richard shines. 

Here is a look back at Little Richard and his most memorable commercials: 

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