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Interesting question, me.

Let's talk about it.

And for the record, I was planning to go into this with a 'WHY NOT HIRE THE LITTLE GUY!?' screed but I've actually changed my tune. More on that later.

As a voice actor who's (let's be honest here) a nobody among a sea of VO nobodies, it's always kind of annoying to hear a celebrity voicing a spot on TV.

Like Bryan Cranston:

Or Jon Hamm:

Or maybe even a celeb like Pope Benedict Cumberbund voicing a docuseries:

There's John Cena , and the list goes on.

It always made me ask (sometimes out loud), 'why do they hire celebrities when they could easily hire some no-name VO actor who's just as good and probably at a fraction of the cost?'

I mean think about it, does the average TV viewer actually KNOW that's Bryan Cranston voicing the Ford commercials?

Why would the client (Ford, Mercedes, etc.) pay someone like Cranston or Hamm upwards of $10,000 per national TV commercial or, more likely, $50-100k for a multi-spot, multi-year deal? That same spot would cost the client about $2000 if they hired, I don't know, John D. Everymannski from Palookaville, Oklahoma (Hi, John!).

Don't get me wrong, ALL of these actors are supremely talented and fantastic at VO.

Their acting chops are well known and easily available. If an ad person is watching Breaking Bad, they know exactly if the talent they see playing Walter White can voice their Ford F-150 spot. There's no playing demos on their website, going through their inbox of submissions and auditions.

They KNOW what they're gonna get.

But you're asking, 'why though would they pay that much when they could save some money and get a regular non-celeb voice actor, Moose?'

That's where, in preparing for this article, I stumbled onto something.

Something I hadn't seen or really thought of (stupid brain!)

These celebrities do more than just voice TV commercials for these brands.

Aside from Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the docuseries for the BBC, these actors are not only hired for their VOICE, they're hired for their celebrity, in that, they also appear on camera in ads for the client as well,

They appear at trade shows for the product... (oh so handsome...THE CAR! I MEANT THE CAR!)

and they probably get some added exposure for the product by the celebs using the product they're voicing for.

There's obviously exceptions to the rule but the 'celebrity voices' are more like a pitchman/person for the product. I've heard that a lot of celebrities don't want to do on-camera acting for products because it's gauche or would cheapen their appeal. They don't want their 'craft' to be seen as used for making money for Goya beans or something. So, they do voicework for products and it's less obvious. Plus, if they show up at the Milan auto show to help present the new e-hybrid concept car for the manufacturer no one will really notice. The trade press will cover it but nobody outside of 'Tire and Dash Monthly' will notice that Jon Hamm is essentially a car-hood model.

So why not?

It makes sense for both the client and the actor in this regard.

Now if they're just voicing spots and that's it, I think that's a different ballgame. There's no distinction between a $10k voice actor and a $2k actor for the same spot. GUARANTEE that if you polled a million TV viewers after playing a Ford F-150 spot with Bryan Cranston, maybe 100 would correctly identify the voice as being his. In this regard, I think the celebs should take a seat and let the 'normies' take over.

I mean, how many jacuzzis do they need anyway? (Man. Cranston really let himself go.)

Saturday January 22nd, 2022
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