Geico Gecko voice-over by Jake Wood

It’s been a while coming, but the news is now out that the new voice of Geico Gecko, in a hybrid Cockney London style, is Jake Wood, English comedian and actor. Read on for an exploration of the new Cockney accent, a background on Jake and a taste of the new commercials.

Jake Wood as Max Branning


Jake Wood

Jake started his television work at the age of thirteen, with a role as Little John in medieval movie The Rose and the Sword (aka Flesh and Blood) in 1985. Last month, Jake started his new role as Max Branning in the English television series, EastEnders. In between he’s appeared as Jurka in The Illusionist (2006), Emil Maurice in Uncle Adolf (2005), Dresler in The Aryan Couple (2004), Detective Sergeant Pete Ainsworth in Lenny Blue TV series (2002), Tough Love TV Series (2000), Doug Wilson in The Wilsons (2000) and Kill Crazy in Red Dwarf (1999).

Geico Gecko Accents

In the Gecko’s Blog, there’s a post on the accent on April 27:

A lot of people are writing to me asking, “What’s up with your accent?” Some people say I sound like an Aussie from “down under.” (After all, geckos are found all over the world.) Others say it sounds like an East End London, or Cockney, accent. Cockneys are considered working-class inhabitants of London. According to tradition, the strict definition is limited to those born within earshot of the bells of St. Mary-le-Bow, a historic church in the City of London. I think I’d agree that my voice does sound a bit like an East End London accent. Some of you write to ask why I have an accent. Others want to know why it is that accent. I dunno; I guess everybody has to sound like something. It would certainly be hard to get the word out about GEICO making the “clicking” sound many geckos make. Isn’t it enough that you know a talking gecko, especially one who can help you save on car insurance? Despite (or maybe because of) the controversy, I seem to be making a lasting impression. As for me, I’m not concerned with geography or nationality. I’ll just continue to “accent” the savings with GEICO!

Now for the record, the Geico Gecko has been voiced by Kelsey Grammar (the stiff English accent), Richard Steven Horvitz (the voice in the Kung Fu Fighting spot), and Dave Kelly (the relaxed British-Aussie accent).

Recent Geico Gecko Commercials

Three of the eight commercials featuring Jake Wood’s voice are featured at Framestore New York, the company responsible for the visual effects. The spots were created at The Martin Agency, Richmond, Virginia, by Steve Bassett, Joe Lawson and Ken Hines, and produced by Kerry Berkbigler Ayers. Animations and filming was directed by Speck/Gordon, Furlined, with producer David Thorne. Lead CG Animator/Effects Supervisor at Framestore CFC was Dave Hulin, with producer Sarah Dowland.

The three spots feature the Geico Gecko recruiting fellow small reptiles as sales reps for Geico Insurance.

Big News

Geico Gecko talks about the big newsPeople who visit Geico.com could save hundreds on car insurance. Yeah? Which is big news. Yeah? But not if noone hears it. Which is why I need to help spread the word. Otherwise our big news is nothing but a stray little fact, a wee orphan of truth, wandering the streets looking for a home in someone’s ear. I knew it was here.

Invitation

Geico Gecko gives the invitation pep talk‘oy check this right. Three million drivers switched to Geico last year yeah? I’m telling you this, why? Because I want you to help spread the word. Bloke hears that number he’s quite impressed. He’s like “Three million! That’s a lot of people. Why wasn’t I invited?”. Then you’re like, “Of course you’re invited”. So he stops by Geico.com and he gets his free great quote. OK. Sure. It’s not a real party, it’s a web site but at least now the fellow’s done his homework.

Eyeball

Geico Gecko is eyeballed by lizardLook here’s the deal. When you talk about Geico.com you want to communicate three things. Easy to use. No middle man. Could save you hundreds on car insurance. Other than that just sort of be personable. Yeah the old “Nice weather i’n’t it? Cup of tea? That’s be lovely! How’s your mum? Cheers. (The lizard licks its eyeball). I’d stick with the small talk mate. Theatrics. Might come across as a bit cheesy.

Why a Gecko?

Because a Gecko can be trusted…

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)

See my earlier post on Geico Gecko from October 2005. See also my June 2006 post on AdAge’s Geico Gecko Podcast.

  • Dan

    The question that I (and others) want answered is why does it SOUND somewhat Australian? Although the British immediately recognize it as Cockney-ish, not Australian, I’m familiar with both, and would call it Australian. Is intended to be Australian, but the actor’s East-end accent betrays him? It is not the typical Cockney/Eliza Doolittle accent the North Americans call ‘Cockney’.

    Or does Geico consider the controversy profitable, and prefers not to answer the annoying question.

  • Meagan

    hmmm…….. maybe it’s a little o” this, an’ a little o’ that (like America).

  • o.b.

    Gecko voice sounds exactly like Marc Warren as Danny Blue on the AMC show “Hustle”.

  • Clio

    It sounds Australian because you’re American and can’t tell the difference between anything not from this continent. Sorry – but that’s the harsh truth.

    I am half American, grew up in England till I was 30 and have been living in LA for several years now. I am asked once month if I’m Australian, South African, or if I am English what part of England do I come from. It makes me laugh because every time I meet someone from the UK they know instantly I’m from London, and will often even recognize that it’s North London. I couldn’t sound any more London than I do. You don’t have to be a linguist to hear it every time I open my mouth, I laugh because how could I come from anywhere else? But to American’s they can’t tell the difference between me, a Scotsman, or a Brummie. These accents are as different as Brooklyn is to Alabama is to Boston. I sound just like Jake (but I tone it down a little bit and “Americanizeâ€? things so I can be understood here). My accent – his accent – couldn’t sound any more London than it does. Typical, classic, London.

    It’s fine that Americans don’t recognize it, we (the rest of the world) wearily recognize that with your cultural dominance anything outside of the US (even Canada!) is alien to you and you just don’t ‘get it’. But please, please do NOT tell me that the most typical, classic, stereotypical AUTHENTIC London accent there is on US TV today sounds Australian. To you maybe. Just like most Londoners would not be able to place a Boston accent if they heard one. But ask any Ozzie, ask any English, Irish, Scots or Welshman, and they’ll tell you that accent is pure bred London, England.

    Oh, and FYI – it doesn’t sound like the cockney accent American’s are familiar with because both Dick Van Dyke and Audrey Hepburn WERE PUTTING IT ON! VERY BADLY! Notoriously so. So don’t ever consider you know a cockney accent if you think of Eliza Dolittle! Think more Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and a lot less Mary Poppins or My Fair Lady.

    I rest my (frustrated) case.

  • Kathy Bryant

    Who voiced the GEICO Gecko in the commercial where an interviewer asks whether or not callers can chat with the Gecko. He sighs and says “I’m here for Geico love, let’s not delve into my personal life.” I love that !!!

  • Kelly

    CLIO- thankyou!!! I am american but spent time abroad and began to tell the difference between english accents, london in particular. I began to research this topic because i thought the the bloke in the adds sounded like and actor from east enders! Well jake is from east enders but not the guy i had in mind, but same accent of course! I read a bunch of other posts and i was in so much confusion why they thought that he sounded australian… i havent been there but have seen plenty of home and away. I leaved in Ireland and it was fun to hear everyone’s accents and now being able to tell them all apart. thanks for your explaination, it was harsh but the truth, we americans need to get out and see the world and be in the minority for once!!!!

  • zona9

    ‘we (the rest of the world) wearily recognize that with your cultural dominance anything outside of the US (even Canada!) is alien to you and you just don’t ‘get it’. ‘

    Nice antiAmerican screed Clio. Let’s see, when Americans can’t distinguish between accents we don’t ‘get it’, yet you admit that most Brits couldn’t recognize a Boston accent. So, apparently, they don’t ‘get it’ either and are ‘alien’ to foreign cultures, huh? There isn’t a person on that miserable little island of yours that could tell a Minn. accent from a Wiscon. accent, a Pittsburgh accent from a Georgian, Dallas from Tennessee. Jingoistic Brits! Self-centered tools! Right, Clio? Of course, most Brits don’t have a clue what Dallas is, anyway. I love that poll that showed most Brits didn’t know what city the show Dallas was set it. And, I bet you thought when you came to the US that you could drive accross the country in a day, right? lol. Typical Brit. So self absorbed. You just don’t ‘get it’ do you?

  • linda dezso

    this is one of the best commercials ever. the ad’s are so comforting and just take you away for awhile. and is one of the few commercials that are actually pleasant to watch. i actually look forward to them. with this world the way it is and everyone is on the go so much, i think this ad actually helps people chill out and laugh. its soooooooooooooo good. thankyou.

    Linda Dezso

  • Gnasher

    Ok. I admit I have never been across the “pond”. But the latest Geko TV spot sure sounds like Christopher Guest and definately Michael McKean (using his american accent) of This Is Spinal Tap fame.

    Any takers?

  • pnk3452

    Hello! I think the GEICO Ads are terrific! I love the “little guy” and as the other person said , I TOO look forward to these commercials! Keep them coming. Have a good day everyone!

  • Quinner

    Speaking from a native Irish viewpoint, gotta say Guest, McKean and Shearer are pretty impressive at English accents.

    But if you want to experience a really cringe-worthy effort at an American doing an Irish accent, look no further than Julia Roberts in “Michael Collins”.

  • James

    Actually sounds like Jason Statham, from Transporter and Snatch and those movies. He sounds like an east-ender. Where would anyone get Australian accent from? It’s an entirely different sound. Even this American can tell the difference.

  • Peter

    I am a Londoner who is lucky enough to spend six months each year in Florida. Would that I were allowed to stay longer. Living away from the tourist areas I am frequently asked if am Australian. No offence is ever meant and none is ever taken.

    It’s a pity that zona9 feels so upset by Clio’s superb contribution. After all, being half American and now living permanently in the States must surely disqualify her from being a true representative of my ‘miserable little island’. Have a nice day!

  • jordan

    I for one love the commercials but i dont like that they switched voices and why do they have burt , charo and richard on ?

  • Andrea

    I thought I was the only one watching Hustle on AMC (great show). In fact, Marc Warren sounds exactly like the Gecko( great ads). Searching to see if Marc Warren was the voice of the Gecko, is what brought me to this site. I need to get a life!

  • Pam Galloway

    My husband and I LOVE Hustle on AMC! And we thought Marc Warren was the voice in the throat of the Gecko, as well! How cool would that be…two of our favorite characters…Danny Blue and Geico’s Gecko… actually, one!
    Come to think of it…I’ve never seen them together…hmmmm. Maybe Geico should buy time during Hustle.

    By the way, the rest of the cast of Hustle is equally as wonderful as Marc!

  • Sherry Tripp

    Good Grief everyone! iTS A COMMERCIAL! Its Cute and my mother WHO IS FROM England and actually from London (she lives in the states, has for over 50 some years) She loves the Gekko!!! Yes, she also has been asked over the years if she is German?!?! Oops, Australian, Irish, whatever! She has learned to accept it and laughs about it. She will even play with my fellow Americans (yes, her children are all American) and use different accents everywhere we go just to confuse the poor souls. Of Course I am rolling my eyes and shaking my head when I am out with her. She is rather nutty but ya gotta love her!!!! She loves listening to the commercial, she says he sounds like Michael Caine and she loves his movies.

    Yes, I guess its true that most Americans don’t know one Brit accent from another but most Americans don’t know our very own Accents either unless they know someone from that part of the country. Its not a big deal and most people love to hear other accents. So girls go to your separate corners and cool it. Geez, Lighten Up!

  • Nancy

    I love the Geico commercials and recognized your accent from the “Super Nanny! That is also Cockney, correct? Most Americans love any English or Australian accent. Reminds me of the Beatles. Let’s you know how old I am! Anyway, I am a big fan and continued success!

  • Angie

    I believe it is Ed Sanders from Extreme Home Make Over! I wonder WHY we Americans should be expected to recognize all the differences in Accents??

  • T. V. Schiavoni

    The GEICO gecko ads are hugely entertaining and endearing, better than the shows in which they are immersed, the most effective TV ads I have EVER seen! Now is the time for the agency, creators, cartoonists and actor(s) to be rewarded by finally being publicly identified and interviewed on a national news magazine such as 60 Minutes. Look at all the additional mileage the client would get, too. Can’t inter-agency jealousies be suppressed long enough to permit this? And why not?

  • jerry

    Please where can I get that song that is playing during the comercial with the cave man walking through the airport.

  • Phil

    It is easy for people not from UK to confuse the cockney accent with an Australian accent, they both share a common heritage. British comedy actress Sheila Hancock
    had a series on radio 4 some years back and in one episode she described various accents and how they evolved, often due to climate or local influences. I believe she described the Austrailian accent
    as a cokney accent spoken with the mouth almost totally closed. The Australians keeping their mouths closed on account of the flies.

  • john

    i second jerry’s question and will look aside… but the song with the lyric “everywhere we go…” in the airport commercial has a familiarity to it… if anyone knows its origin, please share.

  • http://theinspirationroom.com/daily Duncan

    Jerry and John – the music for Geico Cavemen Airport is Royksopp’s “Remind Me”. See my post at:
    Geico Cavemen at The Inspiration Room

  • john

    appreciate that duncan

  • debbie

    I want American English. I am an American citizen. Enough with all the other accents. Give me American. Being of Italian descent, I don’t whine and demand Italian accents or language in anything. My skin is not thin. I value my heritage but appreciate my citizenship more. I am American. Give me an American Gecko.

  • coopsk67

    frankly, he has a gorgeous cockney accent and I fancy it rotten. please pass on my regards. ta.

  • http://INTERNETEXPLORER GINGER WILKES

    THE VOICE OF THE GREAT GEICO GECKO LIZARD WOULD HAVE BEEN GOOD WITH THE LATE STEVE IRWIN DOING IT.A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE SAID THE SAME THING. GINGER WILKES

  • Pat Murphy

    THE VOICE OF THE GREAT GEICO GECKO LIZARD is exactly right and cannot be improved. Best animal mascot spokescharacter ever! Do not mess with perfection! Why not create some collectibles like Proctor and Gamble did for Pogo and gang which they should reissue, if you want my input.

  • Andrea

    The Geico spokesperson is fab, and you cant beat a cockney for the voice. Think the first ad was the best.
    The Gecko graces my desk and my golf clubs.

    I do have one question though, there was an ad where the Gecko was in the back of a van and said “well hello” that didnt sound like the same original voice. Was there a change there in the middle?

    Keep him working on the ads..

  • Debra Berry

    I agree with Pat Murphy….don’t mess with perfection….I love that lil GECKO….the voice is awesome……..please don’t change anything….ty Debra

  • Gina

    My husband and I were watching Eastenders ( A UK Soap Opera) tonight (we get it monthly via dish network here in NYC) and when there was a scene with Max and Stacy my husband said “what a minute” Max Branning is the Geico Gecko, I was like Yeah I think you are right so I googled it and BLOODY HELL Max Branning is the Gecko !! MAx Branning is played by Jake Wood, so we are calling Bradley Branning “SOn of the Gecko”. I am just waiting for Max to ask Stacy if she wants to go have some “PIE AND CHIPS” :-)

  • Bette

    Does anyone know where I can get a pin of the Geico Gecko? or maybe a sticker to put in my car window?
    Geico should send them out with insurance renewals or at least sell them and provide ordering info in their renewal packets. I’ll put one next to my NRA sticker…

  • Heather

    LOL! I also found this site by searching google for the voice of the GEICO Gecko. I too thought it might be the actor who plays “Danny” on the show Hustle. Although I am not great at accents, I still think he is a dead match for the voice.

  • Ronan Byrne

    Hello,
    I have a demo file for voice over work, that I was wondering if you cahn listen to and help promote?
    Regards
    Ronan

  • Rosie

    I’m a Brit living in the US and get asked constantly “are you from Australia?”.
    Love the Geico ad, but the accent makes me feel homesick!

  • Katie G. Hope

    I always assumed the Gecko was Australian because it seemed more reasonable that geckos would live Down Under than in England. I love the Gecko, no matter where he’s from. And I’m very happy with Geico also. Great insurance company.

  • Holly

    Totally love the Gecko! The accent rocks…I wish GEICO would give the caveman thing a rest though. It’s not going to fly. Everyone love the Gecko, so why fix what’s not broken…

  • Charlene S. Larsen

    I stop what I’m doing when your darling gecko Geico commercial comes on. It is the most endearing creature. I dream about owning a Gecko doll which speaks a few words. Please, please. I’m a doll collector. Make a Furby Gecko. Every kid will want one – and every grandparent will buy them for their grandchildren. The mannerisms of the Geico Gecko are so real – I just know that Gecko might appear sometime in my garden. Luv to the creator!!!!
    Charlene Larsen

  • alli

    I love the ads!! Interesting how they have stirred up so much accent drama. I am from the Caribbean and I lived in the UK for some years. Everyone thought my accent was American and when I visited the US they thought my accent was European… It happens. In my experience however, Americans do seem to know little about the cultures of other people and place and that is to be expected as people from a larger country usually won’t pay attention to smaller countries.

  • Nancy Archambault

    I knew it was Jake!! I am an avid follower of Eastenders, and everytime I hear the GEICO ad, I say to my, “wait a minute, I’ve heard that voice before”. Today, I decided to look up the actual voice, and low and behold I was right. Kudos, Jake! (If you don’t watch Eastenders, you should)..Nancy

  • Janet

    The Gecko’s voice is a huge turn on…keep it coming!!

  • Amelia Cornell

    Thanks for confirming my guess, I watch eastenders every week and I recognized the voice of Max being the same as the voice of the gecko on the commercials. I think it is so funny that Max sells insurance and Jake talks about insurance!

  • Howard P

    This thread is Fun! Can’t help smile at the condescending British gal who admits to ignorance of US regional accents but berates Americans for the same lack of ear for the many British variants. I remember as a boy growing up in post war England what a cockney accent sounded like. But accents change in time and I doubt Dick Van Dyke, who tried hard and almost got it, would recognise the new pervasive vowel shift that has occurred and changed the sounds of Britain forever. I think its that true the London voice is becoming closer to Australian year by year and rural accents have almost vanished. But there’s richness in diversity;from Canada to Texas, Corwall to Newcastle and South Africa to Bombay. All speaking their own version of the same language. That’s the fun of it!

  • John

    After watching hundreds of interviews with English, Scottish, and Irish rock musicians on MTV’s “120 Minutes” from 1990-2002; many, many episodes of “Only Fools and Horses,” “The Eastenders,” “The Young Ones,” and the like; having seen at least 200 British films; having listened to the commentary during English Premier League matches; and having had many English friends, I’ve managed to become rather good at telling the difference between the various English and Scottish accents.

    I couldn’t have told someone that they were from Liverpool, not Newcastle, or South London, not Edinburgh until I did that “research.” But now I can. I still make mistakes, but I’m sure that I’m much better at detecting linguistic differences between the English than they are at detecting differences between Americans from Brooklyn, Queens, Boston, or Minnesota. So there. heh heh…

    I felt bad that an American here called Great Britain a “miserable little island.” But I also feel bad when the English look down their noses at us. I think that both of us have done more than enough to anger the world over the centuries, and should be a little humble sometimes.

  • Charlotte

    I have always said commercials using animals and small children (“Pepper, Madame?) catch my attention a lot quicker and hold it longer than anything else…including the cavemen! The Geico Gecko is without a doubt one of the cleverest advertising gimmicks to come along in many a year. His voice is so enticing, I pay attention to every ad. And look forward to every new one that comes out. Can we have an animated series featuring the Gecko? I’m hooked!

  • Steve

    I am a real cockney. I was born within the sound of the bow bells. It’s quite funny that Americans can’t tell the difference between an Australian and a boy from London. We are not a miserable little island, thats a little Country that laid the foundations for this Country and many others. I moved here because its the land of milk and honey, and i got myself a cute honey and she gets my milk. God bless America.

  • Barb W

    Clio wrote “It sounds Australian because you’re American and can’t tell the difference between anything not from this continent. Sorry – but that’s the harsh truth.”

    I beg to differ, Clio. As a cockney now having lived in the USA for 30 years, I still possess a strong accent, but with some of the obvious “Americanisms” i’ve picked up, I too, can sound Australian. Your comment is obnoxious.

  • mick from shoreditch

    Well i go on chat sites and i’m always being accused of being the geico voice by americans. i don’t mind but when i heard the ads i thought someone nicked me voice. it sounds EXACTLY like me and i’m always being asked to turn me mic on and yup i’m a born and bred cockney

  • Starr

    Controversy? Its a Gecko…for an insurance commercial…People lets not make a biggie out of who “gets it” or not. I can tell accents from anywhere in the whole world, and I’m a born American Girl from Illinois. The only accent I cannot hear is my own…I don’t get why people say I have one, I guess mid-westerners elongate the a sound. Still if I don’t get anything its all the hullabaloo over a gecko…how did I even get to this page? Late night internet scramblings again.