Entries Tagged as 'advertising'

what can voiceover talents learn from the kendall jenner pepsi commercial?

jenner_pepsiBack when I drank colas, Pepsi was my go to beverage. I drank Pepsi at least 3-4 times a day, from my high school days up to maybe 5-6 years ago. I loved the stuff, especially from a fountain. Mmmmmm!

Coke was not my beverage, always Pepsi.

Always.

One day I stopped drinking Pepsi, cold turkey, because I decided it wasn’t good for my stomach. No doctor’s orders, no major medical issue. Just a common sense decision for me.

If you still drink it, please enjoy one for me because it tastes great.

So this week when the controversy erupted over a new Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner, I was immediately interested because it was Pepsi. Then I was interested because the world was losing its mind about Pepsi being insensitive and tone deaf to social issues.

I’m going to blow right past that last part about Pepsi being socially insensitive, thus having to avoid reminding people that almost every brand is only as interested in an issue or position (social or otherwise) if they think it will somehow help them make money or save money.

Rather, I’m going to go to the lessons in this debacle that can be learned by voiceover talents because, really, nothing else matters. 😉

  • Lesson #1 ALL VOICE TALENTS ARE KENDALL JENNER

No, we’re not really attractive and wearing Victoria Secret underwear on stages. Only some of the voice guys do that. Allegedly!

But we, like Kendall, are given a script to follow, we agree with the concept, are unsure of how it will all turn out but have faith in the producers and directors we work with that they will perform professionally and responsibly. With that faith in hand and our God-given talents, we perform the job to the best of our abilities.

Sometimes the finished production is a masterpiece that we are proud to have our voice (if not our face) associated with. Sometimes it is so terribly produced and embarrassing that we are ashamed to even cash the check.

There are risks in every job and for voice talents and on-screen performers, that’s one of ours. Rarely when the finished project goes badly is it our fault and in this particular case, it’s not Kendall Jenner’s fault either. Note to KJ: cash the check kid, the embarrassment will fade and you’ll be fine.

  • Lesson #2 VOICE TALENTS DO NOT CONTROL CONTENT

Copywriters, executives, directors and producers get input into scripts, visuals, music and even what voice to use on commercials and narrations. The talent just performs as directed. Many a voice talent can tell you horror stories of a script that had such amazing potential but must have been “committeed” to death after the talent heard or saw the finished project. But their voice was still in there and there was nothing left to do but quickly and quietly move on to the next project. Note to KJ: do that. Move on to the next job. But if SNL or Kimmel calls you to do a spoof ad…if it’s written well, consider doing it.

  • Lesson #3 COMMERCIALS AND NARRATIONS HAVE NOT  YET CURED CANCER OR ENDED FAMINES

Voice talents and actors perform our work to the best of our abilities and we take our jobs seriously because we like the responsibility established when clients and brands entrust us to perform.

But let’s not take ourselves TOO seriously.

We love and respect our voice acting and on-camera acting professions because they are noble ones, but our work has little (not none but little) significant impact on our world. We educate, we inform, we lobby, we sell, we entertain.

But our work is highly unlikely to prevent or cause the end of the world.

This Pepsi ad wasn’t so much insensitive as it was just…a crappy ad. That point has nothing to do with any talent shown in the spot.

The visual message of this Pepsi ad tried to commercialize the nation’s highly charged opinions (bad starting point) into a marketable, happy, non-political spot. The only nice thing I can envision for the brand on that point is that Pepsi may have meant well.

But the spot failed well beyond people’s hurt feelings. And those failings are the reasons the spot should have never aired, beyond the politically charged subtext.

The spot didn’t influence the audience, it didn’t build up the brand and most importantly —above everything else…it didn’t sell any soda. Had that spot run for a year, I doubt it would have move any cans off the shelf.

Pepsi’s job is not to bring about peace. The product satisfies a physical thirst. Sell THAT guys!

Capturing the modern zeitgeist may have been Pepsi’s objective, tying the brand in with the target audience’s desire/demand for justice and equality.

They just forgot to sell the soda.

And selling the soda, not selling world justice, is Pepsi’s only real job.

That’s our job too.

That’s it.

doing voiceovers for political commercials

politics

You know what’s so funny to me, as a political voice talent?

It’s not the politicians or referendums or the political action committees. Those are just grown-ups trying to do that which they think is right.

Well, in a few cases, it is grown-ups behaving badly.

But what I find so terribly funny about being a voice talent for political spots is that I myself am so completely not political. I’m just not.

I am intentionally not affiliated with a political party. I don’t donate to political causes. I’m not a rally attender.

I do vote, every election without exception. I am amazed when I hear how many people do not vote. People died for me so I’d have that right in the democracy of my nation! What the heck?! Vote people!

Me being not very political doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions, I do. Every voice talent does. Every person does.

I just don’t blast it upon the world (as I hear and see others do) Plus I stay far away from mentioning any thing political on social media. To me that’s just professional suicide, no matter what your job is.

Nope, I just give the client the best and most appropriate read for the script. Work fast, be fun to work with and then get paid. It’s been a winning formula thus far.

So what happens if I get a political commercial script that I really have a problem with?

Likely what I’ll do is contact a fellow voice talent whose personal views maybe more in line with the script’s content and see if I can foster a connection. Why?

First of all, this is a business transaction, it’s not meant to be personal. Some people see it otherwise, but I don’t. It’s business.

Often times, also, the campaign managers or political consultants who send me scripts work on a wide range of campaigns. So while I may not work with them on one campaign, we may have no problem working together on another campaign.

Politics is about relationships. Voiceover is about relationships. So I guess in a sense, I am a little political. Here’s a link to my political demo, if you’d like to listen.

first in, best in

Christy Harst Voice-Overs Holiday 2015 Card

Opened my mail today, this last day of November to receive my first voice-over holiday (read: Christmas) card! I thought it was a great one! My poor photography skills don’t do the card justice.

Congrats to my friend and fellow voice-over talent Christy Harst on her design and message. And Merry Christmas!

the youngster takes home the prize

Ann Hackett and Peter K. O'Connell at 40 Under 40 in 2015

aHa! Designs Owner Ann Marie Hackett with audio’connell Voice-Over Talent’s Peter K. O’Connell at Buffalo Business First’s 2015 40 Under 40 event

I’m not sure how many years I’ve known Ann Hackett of aHa! Designs but it’s been awhile. I would guess it has been for almost that long as she’s been doing graphic design work for me.

So I was honored when she and her husband Tony invited me as their guest to watch Ann receive the very prestigious Business First of Buffalo 40 Under 40 Award on Thursday evening.

The goal of the award has always been to identify 40 men and women — under the age of 40, of course — who are successful in their professions and heavily involved in community activities. Ann has been a leader in so many community success but likely her most famous is her work with the Taste of Buffalo where she rose from volunteer to Chairperson of the huge and successful event in short order.

Congratulations Ann!

mca-i gets a logo makeover

 Media Communications Association-International has completely redone their association logo

Media Communications Association-International has completely redone their association logo

Before I begin, I feel I must disclose that I was a past-member of Media Communications Association -International (MCA-I) and a national board member.

That’s right, the poor group (at the time) must have been in such desperate shape that they put me on their national board. And I have friends who are still on that board (and who are making it a great association today). I like the group but I was the only Buffalo-member, and with kids, I couldn’t build up the group locally — no time. But we did some great stuff of the national group.

With all that cleared up, I feel I am ready now to address that MCA-I has gotten a brand new logo for the association.

For any of you who have ever served on a not-for-profit board, you know that getting marketing stuff done like a new logo is like passing a kidney stone…difficult and painful, there will be vomiting and crying and the positive result will be a relatively small outcome from a lot of work.

But in MCA-I’s case, the new logo was TOTALLY worth the effort. It’s awesome!

I don’t know who designed the logo but it’s great.

I suppose I actually ought to give some historical perspective on why this new logo came about.

The old logo sucked.

OK, enough with beating around the bush, eh?

Well, I liked the colors of the old logo and the font but it was altogether too odd. It looked too much like one of the drawings CBS might have thrown out when they were first designing the CBS Eye logo. This is just my opinion of course, but since they have a new logo, someone in power over there agrees with me.

Allegedly.

This new logo (specifically with it’s icon) speaks to the heritage of the media professionals who started the association, working initally in film, evolving with the medium into video, straight through to the new generation of digital media producers who make up much of the MCA-I’s current memberships (certainly there are still many filmmakers still in the group).

For all of them, that icon totally works.

The font and capitalization of the word mark is sharp with rounded and pointed corners. Just nice. And they held on to those great, unique colors.

Plus I have seen some different versions of the logo for different uses and it is really flexible.

So congrats to ALL who were involved in the design of this new logo and the marketing plans that go with it. Job well done. I hope your group continues to shine.

the clippers aren’t the braves

The NBA's Buffalo Braves were kidnapped and taken to San Diego and then to Los Angeles to become the Clippers

The NBA’s Buffalo Braves were kidnapped and taken to San Diego and then to Los Angeles to become the Clippers

So the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers had kinda of crazy season last year, having less to do with basketball than a loud-mouthed owner who said horrible stuff in front of his mistress that she publicized and which allowed his wife to sell the team out from under him.

And now they have a new logo. Oh and a new owner.

The logo sucks. Not for any graphic or design reasons.

Years ago in the late 70’s, the local owner of the NBA’s Buffalo Braves sold his interests in the team to a couple of other fellas who helped move the team to San Diego and then Los Angeles, where they became the Los Angeles Clippers.

Therefore, because I’m a Buffalo boy and because of my obvious personal bitterness to this BS transaction all those years ago, Picasso himself could have designed the Clippers new logo and I would STILL say it looked like crap.

Screw the Clippers.