Thursday, January 11, 2007

Give it an English Accent, We'll Buy It

bugger bugger wankerIt's time to kill the Gecko, Geico's distant 3rd campaign to sell insurance, behind Caveman (98% favorable rating*) and Celebrities Helping Ordinary Folks Talk (66% favorable rating*) Step on him, light him afire, hose him down with poison.

If you listen to any Geico Gecko spots on the radio or see them on TV, take away the English accent, and they really are quite bland. Nothing funny, just that peppy, happy, congenial accent keeps you listening. Granted, insurance is a bland product, but relying on a lizard with an accent is not exactly creative.

We Americans are suckers for the Brit ways. As a character in the film Love Actually rightfully pointed out, "American girls would seriously dig me with my cute British accent."

The Martin Agency is on to that, exploiting it to the hilt. Phoning it in.

And it's not just the accent we get suckered into. Way too many Americans now sign off their emails with "Cheers!" That's fine if it's coming from George Parker or The Chimp Messiah, who grew up with it and whose Moms and Dads and schoolmates said it (should I have said "Mums"?) But coming from an American, it sounds affected, pretentious and fake. Think Madonna.

But let's not stop in Merry ol' England. The Commonwealth's Prisoner Exile - that land Down Under - holds an equally mesmerizing effect on the American mongrel. In additon to "Cheers!" being adopted by culture-starved New Worlders, we've now taken to saying "No Worries!" in our speech and written communications. We snap up Aussie shampoos and conditioners and there's a line to get a table at the local Outback. What's the matter with us? It's like we're turning Japanese, buying sweatshirts with gibberish English slogans on them.

So, advertisers, if you want to see your US sales go through the roof, hire an English or Aussie pitchman/woman. Don't even worry about compelling copy. (Make it a real accent and not a faked one by an American voiceover artist. And not John Cleese. He's done.) We're lured by those Anglo roots. They speak of a bygone day; of authority, aristocracy and authenticity.

God Save the Queen. And her Wanker Son.

*Figures entirely made up and based solely on the author's opinions.

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  • I must admit I seriously considered going to either country to shag a man that would become mr. greencan so I could just listen to that accent all the's fucking sexy. Like sleeping with James Bond forever. Alas, my husband's only accent is Chicago copper. To sum up, the accent thing works for me

    By Blogger greencan, at January 11, 2007 at 9:57 AM  

  • Shag?

    You make the point again.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at January 11, 2007 at 10:14 AM  

  • The grass is greener across the ocean, I think. Most of the front lines of the British Invasion went to pains not to sound British but American, preferably rural Southern American. Now I'm hearing the gangsta influence in Arab rap, which is comical to me. But I think you're on to something. There's probably an accent that works better than others in different regions of the world. The Jerry Lewis accent, of course, is nearly universal.

    By Anonymous captain flummox, at January 11, 2007 at 10:50 AM  

  • agree 100%. the accent makes zero sense, has zero appeal.

    By Blogger mark, at January 11, 2007 at 11:29 AM  

  • Maybe the lizard's an obtuse reference to preparing for the future. There are no indigenous lizards here in Britain, but there might be if global warming kicks in.
    And the Geico accent might be more appealing if it were genuine (I've just checked it out on YouTube).

    By Blogger FishNChimps, at January 11, 2007 at 11:42 AM  

  • You might've found an old one, Chimp, before they switched to the British actor Jake Wood for VO duties. Previous versions had, of all people, Kelsey Grammer.

    AdJab has the details

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at January 11, 2007 at 11:52 AM  

  • not to mention the fact that american girls are such SUCKERS for english accents. No matter how freaky or disgusting the dude, if they have an accent an american gurl will be on HIS TIP!

    By Blogger Slinky Redfoot, at January 11, 2007 at 12:45 PM  

  • You're right, Slink. See Greencan's comment above.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at January 11, 2007 at 12:53 PM  

  • jetpacks---I used "shag" on purpose
    and yes, I probably am still proving your point.
    Although I have not jumped on anyone's "tip", Slinky, just for the way they say bullocks!

    By Blogger greencan, at January 11, 2007 at 3:49 PM  

  • Speaking of the Geico Gecko, anyone hear David Beckham speak? Dead ringer.

    By Blogger Make the logo bigger, at January 11, 2007 at 9:16 PM  

  • Time to get a few things straight here...
    Greencan: It's not bullock, it's bollock.
    MTLB: "Becks" sounds like Mickey Mouse, "Posh" looks like Minnie.
    Slinky: You're right. I get laid every time I say bullocks... I mean bollocks.
    Greencan again: You don't shag anymore, you "get your end away." As for "tip" what ever happened to "John Henry?"
    Lesson over, it's time to get aresholed.

    By Anonymous George Parker, at January 16, 2007 at 11:18 PM  

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