Image by Ernest Duffoo
Celebrity voice-overs on adverts are funny things, endowing the advertised products with a sort of familiarity and trust that you might not otherwise have dreamed of investing. And yet some of them are undoubtedly memorable hitting upon some of our susceptible touch points. Here is a selection of some of the best.
The Guy That Wasn’t Morgan Freeman
A bit of an odd choice maybe, this advert for More Than car insurance tried to sell its product by using the voice of legendary actor Morgan Freeman, only to reveal at the end that it was a non-celebrity voice-over actor all along! Though not an actual celebrity, it is memorable for its very convincing impression and total send-up of the genre in television advertising. As soon as we hear the familiar soothing voice of Morgan Freeman we are thrown back into some of our favourite Hollywood flicks – it’s why he is in every film ever made.
Gryff Rhys Jones
Anyone who has had the delight of having nothing better to do than watch Dave will instantly recall Gryff Rhys Jones’s voiceover for one of Dave’s sponsors, Old Speckled Hen. Known for his affable yet occasionally madcap over-grown school kid moments, he was the perfect voice for the eccentrically branded beer and the home of witty banter.
As if Cushelle wasn’t already soft enough… The toilet paper advert greatly benefited from its animated cuddly koala character, and the calming tones of Robert Webb. Ironically, Webb’s understated tones often create an ironic juxtaposition against some kind of outrageous scenario. Here he’s just very, very calming.
Better known as Blackadder’s endlessly suffering dogsbody Baldrick, or for wandering round a field with archaeologists, Tony Robinson also has an impressive track record of lending his voice to a wide variety of projects. Recently he made a cameo appearance as a germ in this Domestos advert. Perhaps it’s the unexpected nature of this role that makes it memorable.
The UK Department of Health spent £12billion on a campaign, including a tv advertising company, to raise awareness about the four key symptoms of strokes, and featured Sue Johnston as their voice. The actress has played numerous caring characters in programmes such as The Royal Family and Waking The Dead. Her clear, urgent tone was perfectly suited to the adverts’ tricky subject matter.
Can you think of any other celebrities who have loaned their distinctive voice talents to TV adverts? Share them in the comments below.
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Owain loves writing about arts, food and sciences. He writes here for Space City.