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.

  • http://Google Irma Epps

    I was just curious about who did the voice-over. He really does a great job. I like the gecko better than the cavemen. This was a late night google just to satsify my curiousity.

  • Ken Robins

    I am a cockney living in California – I just love the gecko!
    People are always asking me if I am Australian ( I don’t take offence) it gives me the chance to explain that when we colonised Australia we did it primarily with convicts and many if not most of them came from London prisons – Highgate for example and not surprisingly most of them in prison were cockney’s because they are the traditional street thieves of London – the accent is distinguished by the broad “a” and the rhyming slang (the better to confuse the police and those to be pick pocketed) – see Oliver Twist. Example of slang is “norf and saaf = north and south – mouth. Whistle and flute = suit. Aussies talk like us we don’t talk like them!!

  • Rich

    I’m English, from Luton (30 miles North of London) but fortunately I managed to leave. I’ve lived for 4 years in Eastern Virginia, in a rural community on the Chesapeake shore. I get asked every day if I’m Australian. Are these people being rude? No, they’re just curious. Believe me, if an American went to Luton and spoke too loudly, some hood-rat in a Burberry baseball cap would probably stab him/her for ‘disrespectin’ or somesuch crime. Here, my accent makes me a bit of a local celebrity – not many tourists make it this far off the beaten path.
    So, yes Americans can be isolationists, but no, most of them aren’t doing it to be rude. And before anyone else accuses Americans of trying to take over the world, remember that one-third of the world map used to be coloured in pink (British colonial).
    Incidentally, a Wal-Mart checkout person asked me the other day if I was from Guinea. I was buying Wellies and I guess she heard the accent, saw the boots and thought I might be an oyster, clam or crab fisherman. Guinea is an area of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula near where I live that was settled by English and German deserters from Lord Cornwallis’s army in the 1600′s, and the accent there is particularly salty. Even the locals can’t always understand it. It’s kind of a cross between a Dutch and an Elizabethan London accent with a little Southern non-rhotic drawl thrown in.

  • abi

    Katie G. Hope Says:
    “I always assumed the Gecko was Australian because it seemed more reasonable that geckos would live Down Under than in England.”

    I got here due to a debate (I know, silly) over the Aussie vs English accent of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE talking non-human character on TV, my gecko, & after reading all the comments above, the one that says it all is Katie G. Hope’s (quoted here). You know you’ve lost a grip on reality big time when you assume that a make-believe CGI (computer generated imagery) creature WHO COMMUNICATES TO HUMANS IN A HUMAN LANGUAGE (& I’m not talking body) would naturally and reasonably be Australian because all the other non-English-speaking geckos in our world primarily live in warmer climates than England!!!!! Is it too much TV????!!!! Well, if it is & I ever say somethin’ that nonsensical, I hope someone points it out to me immediately so I can shoot that sum-bi!ch (my TV)!!!!

  • jon

    Having spent most of my life in saaf London (left New York when I was 4) I’ve been wondering why since I‘ve moved back people keep asking me if I came from Australia now I know why. It’s not just Americans who are bad at accents I had a Kiwi working for me back in London who was always being mistaken for a South African.

  • Johnathan Urekh IV, Jr., Sr., PhD., butthole

    My family has a large relationship with people in England (Michael from Benny Hill, etc.) and I have to say that the Americans that you met, CLIO, were stupid LA inhabitants. Being from the East Coast, I find that there are more people who come across foreign voices, accents, and drawls. Just like I can tell the difference from someone who lives in Western England and someone who lives in London. I don’t appreciate you dissing Americans when only a few people have asked you where you come from. Just like saying you hate America because you hate George W. Bush, this is probably why we don’t respect Brits and probably why you don’t respect Americans..! So, please… please understand that sometimes foreigners in general really piss us off!

  • Fandeboris

    Actually, it is what you are exposed to that you try to remember. If I heard enough British accents everyday like people from Great Britain, of course I could tell them apart. We in America can sure tell the difference between the Southern accent and the Northern Boston accent, for example, mainly because of exposure. I personally have lived in the South all my life, but my British friend doesn’t “hear” it and thinks I sound like “most” Americans. It has been said that Americans hear a Australian accent as British, and to an Australian, we sound more alike than a British accent, and to an Englishman, Australians’ accent is more like their own. After reading all the comments above I just had to throw in my two cents or tuppence.
    Good Day

  • Joan A. Bishop

    WOW! Reading all the coments above was like a trip to several “English Speaking” countries, and good for quite a few LOLs! I have traveled in both England and Australia, but not enough to be able to clearly distinguish between an Aussie and Cockney accent.
    (I did think the Gecko’s accent might be Aussie – but wasn’t sure) But Hey – WHO CARES?
    The main thing is – We all LOVE that Gecko! I really wish Geico would lose ALL their other Ads – really boring – and concentrate on the charming little green guy. They could even have him doing a world tour, commenting on how much people could save on Insurance – if only they had access to Geico, etc., etc…

    Kudos to the artist, Ad Manager & staff, On the BEST ADVERTISING ICON EVER! Charm, personality, attitud; he’s got it all. I keep wishing they would put out a DVD of all the Gecko Ads so far – I would buy it like a shot!

    All the best to you Geico Gecko fans!

  • mzj

    Love these commercials, hate the cavemen. This is definitely not an Aussie accent, strictly cockney and extremely engaging. If you spend any length of time in London or Australia, you can tell the difference.

    If anyone ever saw the PG Tips tea commercials from England from way back, you’ll see creativity at its best. I love listening to the gecco on the radio also.

  • American Sue

    This in response to Clio berating Americans for confusing London & Australian accents. Number one,how petty. Secondly, you go on to say that many non-Americans wouldn’t know the difference between a Boston or an Alabama accent, yet somehow THAT’s understandable. What amazes me is that so many people are quick to criticize the very place and people that give them the best opportunities for the best life. Doesn’t matter what the accent is – the commericals are entertaining. And Clio, feel free to leave America next time you’re so disgusted with our ignorance of world widw accents. While you’re at the airports, look around and note how few Americans are moving to London!

  • http://www.dialect911.com Diane Senffner

    Well, I am a dialect coach who’s lived in the U.K. and there are certain dipthongs of Cockney and the Aussie dialect that are similar, especially the ‘I’ sound. It is slightly ‘oi’ in the Cockney dialect, but profoundly ‘oi’ in the Aussie dialect. I know the difference. I never pretend that others don’t. My mission is to make more people understand the differences on stage and in film. Thanks, Geico Gecko! You’ve made my job easier!!!

  • Margot O’kane

    I really love the gecko. How come I do not see these the Geico Gecko for sale in some form such as stuffed, rubber etc.?

  • holly & kirsty

    We love the geico gecko because it is so cute and for the simple fact that it is played by Jake Wood who is Max Branning in eastenders our favourite character in the world. We salute you Max!

  • Catseye

    I love the geico gecko too! I have to admit, I thought he was voiced by Burn Gorman.

  • Elizabeth Smith

    The Geico Gecko is the cutest, sweetest, funniest, and most effective spokesperson…thing ever!

  • Dawn

    My niece and I both adore the Geico. When will it come out as a stuffed, talking geico with the accent? I think, as do many, that it’s time they are marketed! PLEASE!!

    Thanks.

  • Lisa

    It’s time to have a geico lizard bumper sticker, especially if one has the insurance we should definitly have the lizard to prove it. It will be totally cool and think of all the cute little lizards on the back of cars…too cute.

  • sandi

    I got to this page to settle a bet, my husband said Aussie, I said London. I showed him the posts and I won, but now I see he wasn’t the only one who thought it was Aussie. I always try to guess the voices, it is a hobby I guess.
    Does anyone know who did the voice for Yami Yugi on YugiOh? he is awesome

  • Jane

    WOW! I guess ignorance is bliss when you’re so full of yourself. GO GEICO GECKO, YOU ROCK!!!!

  • ALICE LUSCHER

    i want to buy the geico like aflac duck who says aflac aflac are there any made up should do this he is just too darn cute and put your voice on it yeh yeh

  • Sean in CA

    Wow! CLIO needs to switch to decaf! Saying all Americans don’t know or care about anything outside the USA is just as ignorant as saying all Australians and Brits sound alike.

  • Melody

    What is all the argument about?

    Who KNOWS what a gecko sounds like???

    P.S. The best gecko commercial so far is the one set in the library, followed closely by “Eyeball”.

  • Sandi

    I AM LOOKING FOR A STUFFED ANIMAL(GEICO) CAN YOU HELP MR? I FINALLY GOT TO SEE THE PERSON WHO DOES THE GEICO COMMERICALS. I JUST LOVE HIS ACCENT, THANK YOU. SANDI

  • Adam

    I’m from Portsmouth, England.
    (and that’s not the country called London!!)

    Anyway I’ve been taking vacations to the USA since I was 7yrs old…and on every trip we were asked ‘So are you from Australia’?…
    Recently I married an American from New Jersey, were we currently live…I still get asked ‘Am I from Australia’??…I have a t-shirt that states ‘No I’m not from Australia…I’m from England’ ! I wish I could wear it 24hrs a day!
    Many friends of ours confess they originally thought the Gecko was Australian! This really gets under my skin. I try to explain to my fellow American’s that even though our ‘miserable little island’ is jam packed full of accents! In my home town I could travel 30mins east or west and the accents are completely different!!

    CLIO I loved your entry on June 29th 2006.

    I just love that the commercials are 100% spot on with the script! Everything a Cockney would say is never edited for the USA audience. Recently the one when the Gecko is eating a ‘Chip’(usa) ‘Crisp’(uk)!! They never changed the script…Love it!

  • dibers

    the gieco gecko rocks

  • JJ Flash

    Does anyone else out there think that gekko Jake Wood sounds like Burn Gorman (Torchwood, Bleak House etc)?

    Anyone NOT American that is, as the Yanks can’t distinguish anything that doesn’t drawl and murder the English language.

  • Vader

    Clio:
    Someone ought to slap you upside the head.

  • Guy Mazzone

    Sounds spanish to me……….

  • Paul Carter

    I heard a rumor the voice of the gecko had died. I enjoy the accent and was curios of the origin. Now that I know, it reminds me of the charcater Dick Van Dyke played in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

  • cklatte

    JJFLASH.. I’m an American (Yank) and I can distinguish. He sounds nothing like the Burn Gorman…….YAWL!!!!!!!!!!! Is that more on your level? DAH!!!

  • Terie Burkeen

    Tell you what I love that little green fellow hes so cute wish they would put out a stuffed animal of him that talked i would definately buy one , not for my grandson but for me the wee mate has stolen me heart !!!!!! Thanks for making me smile when i really needed too..

  • Terence Welsh

    Nothing personal. I f’n HATE the fact that almost every company in the US seems to think that if a brit/aus accent sells their product, we’re gonna be goaded to buy. I’ve been to England and Oz. Loved every minute and will go back if able. But the geico onslaught to buy their insurance pisses me off. I nearly destroy the television whenever the shit comes on. And that gecko. Arghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! Erase the gecko from history. Please. (but keep your paycheck)

  • Speed_Racer

    keep up the great work; good luck with the geico contract, hope it last for you its funny as heck!!

  • zach

    I absolutely hate these commercials…lately they have all feature the pretentious little brit lizard in situations that make him seem (or at least the mad-men are continuing their brainwashing attempts) that people from england, and especially london are so with it and cultured, clever, and dazzling, classy, and intelligent while the americans in the commercials are preposterous boobs heading multinational insurance companies (because theres no way they have earned anything li

  • Jaime

    I totally knew it was your voice Jake!! Well I didn’t know your real name so I kept saying it’s Max Branning!!! Lol I was totally spot on!! I live in America but am originally from Sudbury, Suffolk ;) I watch Eastenders every Sunday & got my American husband hooked!!! And yes my mum always gets asked if she’s austrailian! Such a bloody put down!!

  • JoMamma

    I’d like to pretend that the Geico gecko is from Australia if that’s OK. Geckos abound in Sydney and I have such happy memories of them. My cats had a habit of bringing geckos into the house in the middle of the night and I’d wake up to their high pitched screaming (the geckos, not the cats). At which point I had to capture it (the gecko) and release it back outside. Good times. But I guess that image wouldn’t sell much insurance…

  • http://www.hilorain.com Morgan Sky

    The CGI for the Geico gecko is really wonderful. The colors are perfect. I’ve got a lot of them living in and around my house. They are Madagascar Gold Dust Day Geckos, quite territorial and the bane of all other geckos (they will kill and eat them). However, if they spoke “human” I doubt they’d have a British accent. But since I have no idea what someone from Madagascar would sound like, I think his accent gives him a bit of innocent “cheekiness” which works in Geico’s favor. And now I find myself calling the common brown critters “geckos” and the celebrity geckos “geicos”. Great campaign whoever thought it up! Get rid of the Cavemen and annoying “money eyes”.

  • Leapfrog 2

    A stuffed one would be great! If you don’t love em, you should be slappped upside t eddd. Geico, stash the others, go all GECCO!…

  • LeftieLady

    Does the GEICO gecko have a name? If so, does anyone know what it is?

  • Kevin

    It’s obvious to anyone from London that the Geico Gecko comes from Tottenham, which is in North London.

  • Sherry

    The Gekko is adorable! My Mother loves him. She is originally from London and she also gets the Are you from…. Germany, Australian, etc., – She just smiles and says no she is from London. Most americans are so enchanted listening to the accent that they don’t listen to what is really being said to them by a foreigner. I have had to rescue more Brits from bedazzled americans who had no clue what was being said to them. Yes – I am an American – I apparently even told my mother when I was 3 years old how to say things like plaza like my Dad (American)

    LOL!

    Sherry

  • Aubrianna

    i want the geico gecko to be my pet please?

  • Florence

    Who doesn’t love the gecko?!

  • RadioEars

    Although I would never buy Geico insurance, I adore their Gecko ads. The voicework and writing on that campaign is genius. (Caveman is really stupid). And for the record, I NEVER think Brits sound like Austrailians. I cannot fathom why people here can’t hear the difference. It is also effortless to spot South African, Manchester, and Scottish accents as well.

  • Sandilands

    The Oz and London accents may sound very similar to anyone from the ‘strong r’ or ‘rhotic’ region of the Anglosphere like most of North America, Ireland and some shrinking parts of England itself.

    To me, ‘Strine has a more sing-song pitch esp. at the end of sentences than Cockney and the consonants are stronger. I thought the gecko’s voice was that of a fairly standard London accent and the whole plotline as to whether it was an Oz accent seemed odd to me. They should at least have put some Australian features in it to generate real suspense.

  • susan albert

    I think the Geico Gecko is the cutest thing I ever saw. I also think whoever thought up that comercial is very clever.

  • Bill Clary

    Is that Jack Yusen of DE 413,USS Samuel B. Roberts, in those Gecko commercials? If it is, he’s a real American hero of WW11-a survivor of the heroic battle of a few small desroyers and destroyer escorts against a Japanese battleship task force. Thanks, Jack for your service to our country!

  • http://yahoo Tami Larkins

    Has anyone given a thought possibly he has a New Zealand accent?

  • Anubic Darque

    It does sound like a South Island New Zealand accent. Being a South Island New Zealander myself. (and sick of being asked if I am an Australian or english)

  • Janet

    I don’t really care where he is from. I could listen to his voice all day! That’s one of a few commercials that I won’t mute! I just love the little green guy.
    Whoever thought this one up deserves an island named after them. Oh heck just give ‘em the island!

    • Patty Kerr

      I could listen to him all day. If I could clone him I would carry him in my pocket all day . Love it !!!!