You’ve probably heard them without thinking twice about it. You’ve been folded into the cushions of your couch on a rainy Saturday morning listening to voice overs barking at you to buy this product, eat that meal, try on these clothes.
What you may not have realized is that many of these comforting, sexy, funny and charismatic people telling you what to do are celebrities. Some of biggest and best ad campaigns on today’s television and radio ads feature star your favorite television and movie crushes and heros who end up using their vocal charm to earn a bit of extra coin on the side.
Get off that matted-down couch cushion! Here are some great examples of how celebrity voices have been used to turn lackluster commercials into much more successful advertisements.
Celebrity Voice: Morgan Freeman
When it comes to voice overs, Morgan Freeman gets a gold star. While his honey-smooth southern drawl appears in countless ad campaigns as well as full length movies, it is so distinctive that we know exactly who it is and can place a face to the name immediately.
This particular ad campaign for the 2012 Olympics in London gets extra bonus points from me because of its consistency over several commercials. They are all filmed with same gold tone, feature an up and coming olympic athlete and feature Morgan Freeman’s voice explaining the hardships and thrills of intense competition. I hope to see more of these spots in the months leading up to the big games.
Celebrity Voice: John Krasinksi (Jim from The Office!)
This Esurance ad uses John Krasinski’s characteristic playful voice tone along with Chet Atkins plucking away on guitar behind it. Krasinski uses whimsical questions in each of the Esurance ads in the campaign to challenge the mid-twenties to early thirty-somethings to feel safe with Esurance. Why do we trust him? Because he’s Jim from the office and who wouldn’t trust the voice that’s paired with such a great and persistent “aw shucks” face?
Celebrity Voice: Willem Dafoe
This celebrity voice-over advertisement weighs in a bit more heavily than the first in the series which was only 16 seconds. For that installment, Fage didn’t exactly get their monies worth. In the new Fage commercial, the idiosyncratic Boondock Saints co-star makes every word count as he narrates the scene with his vocal talents.
Unusually, Fage has done a remarkable job of making beautiful abstract art from yogurt, something that is easily taken for granted with its fermented, milky form. I look forward to more macro cinematography with the other Fage flavors in the near future.
Company: Olive Garden
Celebrity Voice: Kelly Ripa
When she’s not busy with her show, kids and husband, Kelly Ripa is busy doing voiceovers for the Italian chain restaurant, Olive Garden. The slightly raspy notes in her voice add a bit of a fun quality make her a good choice to promote the restaurant’s deals.
Celebrity Voice: Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
For anyone who’s seen the hit Showtime series, Dexter, this celebrity voice over is a fairly easy one to guess. The ominous and looming tone that Hall projects is perfect for the promotion of the angry, dark Charger.
Since Michael C. Hall’s voice over is very prominent in the Dexter drama, it is easy for fans to draw the conclusion that this vehicle would be a prime vessel for a strong, brooding, independent type (with maybe a few secrets to hide…and, not to mention, a trunk with plenty of head room!)