Voice Overs Of The World: Matter-Of-Fact Humor
In today’s Voice Overs of the World, I found some great examples of what I like to call “Matter of Fact” Humor. What that means is that each of the commercials below are funny, clever, well-written ads that require a certain style of delivery. Although these are funny commercials, none of the voice overs go for over-the-top humor. Instead, they take a subtle, more stoic approach. The reads aren’t flat or emotionless, but the voice talents involve add just little touches of humor here and there to really sell a dry sense of comedy. Read on to see what I mean.
The first ad from NBCNewYork.com is a perfect example of Matter of Fact humor. The voice over is slightly announcer-ish, but not in that “yelling loudly at you” way; it’s more just the deep, male voice that’s not dissimilar to what you hear in movie trailers and network TV promos.
But listen for the little bits of dry humor in the commercial: “Liz also considers herself a foodie with a highly advanced palate.” There’s no overt sarcasm in that line, rather just a hint of it, which makes it much more effective than blatantly making fun of the character in this spot.
Old Spice has been making funny commercials for the past few years. If you haven’t seen the “I’m Riding A Horse” ad yet, you’re really missing out. But as that ad doesn’t feature a voice over, I found a few other great Old Spice ads instead with some terrific humor in them that come from the VOs. In the commercial above, you get the same two lines of dialogue repeated four times in 20 seconds.
What I like about this ad is how you can hear the progression in the voice actor’s deliveries. While the first two reads are pretty similar, the third delivery adopts a more casual, lighter tone. Then the fourth read brings in a much more noticeable breathy tone. Each read gets across a nice, manly tone, but the subtle variations really help keep the ad from getting monotonous, and keep the humor intact.
The next Old Spice ad features a really great script about a man who is nearly perfect; of course, I’m sure it’s because he wears Old Spice. I love this voice over because it takes on a gritty, breathy sense of gravitas, as if this man is burdened with all of these great qualities. “Is handsomeness a burden your face has to live with… every day?” The timing of the pause in that line is fantastic, too.
Again, the VO doesn’t go for overt humor, even though the dialogue is clearly over the top, so you believe it — or at least believe that the voice actor believes it — when he says, “A triumphantly fresh scent that smells like the world’s most successful mountain.”
Finally, we have two great ads from Muscle Milk. These ads give us quick mini-portraits of two men who use Muscle Milk — which of course makes them cool — even if everything else about them is ridiculous. These ads are probably the ultimate example of Matter of Fact humor. The deliveries are pretty deadpan, with just little hints of emphasis here and there. For example, Chet “has been ejected from several co-ed softball games.”
These are solidly read deliveries that have a nice cadence and good timing; listen to the perfectly placed pause in the ad above where the voice actor says, “And that boat? It’s stolen.” These are voice overs that are simple, yet extremely effective.
What do you think? Are these ads funnier because of the voice overs or would they be funny regardless?
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