Voice Overs Of The World: The Best Medicine
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and we here at Voice Coaches agree with that. So, apparently, do Sierra Mist, John Smith Beer and a third company who I’ll leave unnamed so as not to spoil the payoff at the end of their clever commercial.
In the first commercial above for Sierra Mist, we have a clever use of some humanized trees planning a hijacking of an unsuspecting hiker to get some Sierra Mist. There are three distinct “tree voices,” plus the female spokesperson voice in the beginning and end. I love that there are three different voices hired to play, basically, naughty trees. Each tree also has a distinct voice and even somewhat of a personality; at least as much personality as you can get out in two or three words.
I think the commercial is pretty funny throughout, especially at the end when the “lead tree” (man, the phrases I write in this column sometimes…) mutters, “Make your own plan.” It’s a pretty creative approach to a commercial that, in actuality, just features a few static shots of trees and logs.
In the second commercial (above), a man suspects his wife of infidelity. This one-minute ad is driven entirely by the voice over, in which the man calmly (but suspiciously) describes all of his wife’s recent behaviors. What sticks out for me about this ad is actually the very first line of the piece: “I am a 35-year-old man who’s happily married to my lovely wife…” Now, personally, the voice talent sounds just a touch older than 35 to me (although maybe it’s just that upper crust British accent that’s coloring my opinion), but that’s whats great about voice acting. While the on-camera actor has to look 35, the voice actor could have been any age. Maybe he was 50. Maybe he was 27. Who knows? As long as he sounds the way the producers want him to sound, he’s the right guy for the job.
I also love the change in his delivery at the end of the piece, when he discovers something… interesting. Again, I don’t want to say what it is, as I don’t want to spoil the punchline of the commercial in case you’re reading this before watching the video. But listen to his delivery style change rapidly; it gets more involved, speeds up, and switches away from the suspicious tone of voice he has to a much more excited one. I think this commercial is exceptionally well done, and I think it’s extremely clever how it hooks you with a storyline, and then completely switches gears at the end.
Finally, we have a spot for John Smith beer (which I believe is only available in Europe, or at least mostly sold over there, but I’m not a beer expert so don’t hold me to that.) This is a funny take on the classic Westminster dog show announcer, who’s much like a British golf announcer: quiet, composed, with a hushed tone of voice… until something exciting happens. In this case, that something exciting happens to be the dog performing a trick that’s of much more use to most people than being able to walk through an obstacle course.
My favorite line delivery comes at the end when the voice actor says, “Great dog work! Yeah, give him a biscuit!” Brilliant.
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