Are you crazy, or is Frasier urging you to sign up with MCI? You’re not crazy. More and more celebs are making an effort to be heard, and not seen, doing commercial voice-overs. Given the easy time demands (usually a few hours’ work) and cash involved (”We pay [celebs] way over scale,” says Team One cochairman and creative director Tom Cordner of paychecks that can hit $1 million), who can blame them? Here, a roundup of recent pitchmen.
STAR Drew Carey
PRODUCT Chevy Venture
THE AD A Jack Russell terrier tries to woo the saucy Afghan in the next car by juggling and doing flips in the ample space of a minivan.
THE PITCH ”You never know when a little extra room is going to come in handy.”
WHY HIM?? ”We liked him because he seemed very different from your average minivan personality,” says Jim Gorman, senior VP and creative director of ad agency Campbell-Ewald. ”We wanted to say, ‘It’s okay to drive a minivan.”’
STAR Kelsey Grammer
THE AD Grammer is the voice of reason coming through the office intercom in a series of eight spots.
THE PITCH ”One team. One company. One local-to-global connection.”
WHY HIM?? ”We needed a big personality who could bring life to an inanimate object,” says Gretchen Gehrett, VP of advertising and communications at MCI.
STAR Sigourney Weaver
THE AD City life is romanticized in three spots featuring sophisticated couples escaping (e.g., newlyweds fleeing their wedding) in the sleek black sedan.
THE PITCH ”Park Avenue by Buick. The power of understatement.”
WHY HER?? ”We were looking for a voice that is rich and passionate,” says Nina Abnee, group account director of McCann-Erickson Detroit. ”And she is such a great actress that she can enhance the luxury image in a natural way.”
STAR Joe Pesci
THE AD As part of ”The Road Is Calling” campaign, Pesci is the voice of the snarling Brooklyn Bridge challenging the ES 300.
THE PITCH ”You want a piece a’ me?… I got your fancy suspension right here.”
WHY HIM?? ”He has the quintessential tough-guy voice,” says Team One account supervisor Valencia Gayles. ”We look for celebrity voices that correspond to the personality of the road.”
STAR Rosie O’Donnell
PRODUCT California prunes
THE AD In two animated spots, Rosie’s the voice of Josephine (with Napoleon) and a busy Cleopatra.
THE PITCH ”California prunes, the energy-packed supersnack.”
WHY HER?? ”We wanted the double entendre of these historical characters with a very modern, hip voice,” says John Randazzo Jr., account supervisor at Randazzo & Blavins. Plus, Rosie has that ”highly recognizable New York accent.”
STAR Sylvester Stallone
PRODUCT Pontiac Bonneville
THE AD In one of the three spots Stallone voices, a chrome hood ornament shaped like an overstuffed gentleman comes to life only to be left coughing in the dust of a Bonneville.
THE PITCH ”Luxury with attitude.”
WHY HIM?? ”He personifies luxury with attitude,” says senior VP and group creative director Mark Zapico of DMB&B.