Voice Coaches Blog

Voice Overs Of The World: Super Bowl, Super VOs!

Posted 4:15 pm by KikiVassilakis

The Super Bowl is known as much for its commercials as it is for the football game itself, and every year, we here at the Voice Coaches Blog bring you the most in-depth post-game analysis of not the game, but the commercials. Specifically, we take a look at the most memorable commercials of the game to predominantly feature voice overs. So while some of the Bud Light or Doritos ads might have been funnier or more clever, the ads we’ve chosen spotlight the best use of voice overs we saw last night.

The first ad (above) is the start of what you’ll notice very quickly as a trend this year: car ads. More than half of the best VO-related ads were from car commercials, and more than half of those featured celebrity voice overs. Of course, the big car companies are known for their use of celebrities, but you’ll notice there are some that feature good old-fashioned working voice actors too. I’ll keep my comments brief because, well, really, how much more can I say about Jeff Bridges’ or Michael C’ Hall’s talent?

So the first commercial above is one of the many that featured Bridges providing the voice over for Hyundai, a company he currently does all the VO work for. While this was certainly the most eye-straining of the ads, it’s also the one that featured the most continuous voice over by Bridges.

Next we had a Dodge commercial featuring the unmistakable sound of Michael C. Hall’s voice. The Dexter actor is also currently the voice of Dodge, and he brings his uniquely deadpan delivery to their commercials.

Chevy struck next, with one of their Tim Allen-voiced ads. He also curently does the Campbell’s Soup commercials , and I was waiting to see if we’d get a Tim-Allen double feature during the Super Bowl, but the soup company apparently decided not to spend the money for a commercial during the big game. Still, this Chevy ad is quite well done; the “We Can Do More” ad campaign delivers an important message about renewable resources, and Allen gives us a nice delivery with just the right mix of gravitas and inspiration.

<a href=”http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=188dd683-5885-47e0-a722-e7255892de79″ mce_href=”http://msn.foxsports.com/video?vid=188dd683-5885-47e0-a722-e7255892de79″ target=”_new” title=”">Ford: F-150</a>

Wrapping up the celebrity portion of our write-up, we have a new Ford commercial with voice over by Denis Leary, who has been doing the VOs for Ford’s trucks for the past year or two. It’s a pretty typical performance from Leary for these spots, delivering a (slightly) toned-down version of his rapid-fire stand-up style. Still, there’s no mistaking that voice, and I have to admit I think his voice is a perfect fit for the Ford F-150 trucks.

But we’re not done with the car commercials yet. Acura chipped in with a fun commercial about road testing its cars in the harsh conditions of Baudette, Minnesota, where winter temperatures hover around 25 degrees below zero. I think the punchline here says it all (and it’s delivered perfectly, to boot): “If your winters are tougher than this, you don’t need a new car, you need a new place to live.”

Chevy comes back a second time with a voice over-driven commercial that doesn’t feature Tim Allen. This was actually one of my favorite spots of the night, not only because it was clever and well-written, but because the voice overs in it are so spot-on. As two video-editor-types strategize a Chevy commercial, everything they discuss comes through on screen. Some of the lines I love the most include, “We start in the desert, and it’s like, ‘what car is that?’ and then BAM! Whoa, super fast.” and “‘Dodging hay bales!’ ‘No, she’s in the city, I don’t know why you’d have hay.’” I also enjoy the last line, when the two guys say, “And then…’ ‘…the announcer says,” which is a fun little introduction to a completely different voice over artist, as well as a fun little in-joke on the aspect of even having an announcer. All in all, I think it’s a great spot with some really terrific VO work in it.

The Chrysler commercial above is an impressive one. Even though controversial rapper Eminem appears in the commercial, the undisputed star of this two-minute spot is the voice over artist. Interestingly, the voice actor who captures the feel of Detroit so well is a Detroit-area resident voice actor who’s been doing professional VOs for about 20 years. This is a very well-done commercial; the voice over, imagery, copy, and music all come together to paint a picture of Detroit, cars, Americana, steel, toughness, and tenacity.

STILL going with the car commercials, the spot above at least isn’t from a car manufacturer, although it is from a car dealer. I enjoyed this spot quite a bit; there’s a good dose of humor in it, and I like how many different voice actors get a chance to shine while playing an anthropomorphic car. I count six different actors in the one 30-second spot. Add to that some funny copy and some humorous deliveries (not to mention some impressive animation), and even if the ad is a little bit off color, it’s still pretty effective.

Okay, we’re finally done with the car commercials! And, of course, what would a Super Bowl be without an appearance by the E-Trade baby? He actually appeared in two different spots during the game, but I think this one is just the little bit better of the two. E-Trade doesn’t branch out too much from their tried-and-true formula here, giving us more of the usual baby with an attitude, as voiced by the usual guy who plays the baby with said attitude. That’s a pretty sweet gig, considering how many commercials this baby appears in every year.

Finally, we wrap things up with another celebrity voice over, but at least in this case the celebrity is playing himself. Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas (who played the halftime show of the Super Bowl) has already dabbled in acting (playing a supporting role in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie), and here, Chatter.com wisely tied in to the Peas’ halftime show by having Will.I.Am talk about the site. The copy and delivery style tell me that this ad is clearly aimed at a more web-savvy generation, and we even get a VO cameo from Peas singer Fergie at the tail end of the spot. There’s even an additional voice actor in the spot, asking the first line of the commercial, “Will.I.Am, what do you think about the cloud?” Not too shabby! See, even when celebrities get some high profile work, there’s still plenty of VO work out there for the rest of us.

So, there you have it. I thought the Super Bowl commercials this year were pretty great overall, and I enjoyed quite a few of them, especially the ones with strong voice overs.

Which was your favorite commercial of the night?

Related posts:

  1. Voice Overs Of The World: Super Bowl XLIV Wrap-Up
  2. Preview: Best Of The Super Bowl
  3. Voice Overs Of The World: Royal Caribbean
  4. Voice Overs Of The World: Orange
  5. Voice Overs Of The World: Old Navy’s SuperModelquins

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3 Responses

  1. Mike, Great comprehensive review of the SB commercials! I have to agree that the cars took the cake. The Camaro spot was a great example of conversational reads and hits the youth demographic perfectly: creative fantasy about cars and err, teachers. The other Chevy is classic Tim Allen who has excelled in off camera work as much as he did on camera. In addition to his great work with Chevy and Campbell’s his Michigan tourism spots are perfect. -Kevin
    PS- More of my super voice-over thoughts:
    http://www.kevinsvoice.com/2011/02/super-bowl-weekend-or-super-voice-over-weekend/

  2. MikeSpring said:

    Thanks for the kind words, Kevin. I don’t think I even realized he was also doing Michigan tourism spots. Thanks for the heads up! Great blog, too!

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