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cleveland fumbles the brand

Cleveland Browns 2015 Logo

ESPN reports the Cleveland Browns have updated their primary logo.

Voxmarketising reports all the Browns really did was put lipstick on a pig.

Tell me, tell me I dare you, where are the oohs and aahs in this big brand change? A new panatone orange and a brown facemask? A better typeface?! Well OK, the typeface IS better.

Forget imagery for a second….do you know how much it costs to change signage and imagery for any big business, let alone an NFL franchise?! Millions of dollars! Millions….for this crap?!

Back to the imagery, the brand, the look. Supposedly the uniforms will be updated in April and will compliment this new helmet. No, no they won’t. Only a brown paper bag will compliment this helmet and that has been worn before many times at Cleveland Browns games (pretty big talk coming from a long suffering Bills fan, I’ll grant you).

The Browns team president noted the helmet IS the logo for Cleveland and with it’s rich, storied tradition blah, blah blah the city would implode if the Browns changed the helmet to include a new logo (well, he didn’t say that exactly).

No, no the city wouldn’t implode but the city of Cleveland should be pretty pissed off if this is the result of two years worth of NFL branding research. Clearly, the Cavaliers and the Indians are the modern sports leaders in Cleveland.

‘Put a fresh coat of paint on the logo and call it new’ is not what a city like Cleveland deserves or needs. It says alot that a new secondary logo for the “Dawg Pound” comes across as more professional than the team’s main logo which, again, is a helmet.

A football helmet. That’s the logo. THAT’S what passes for creativity in Cleveland. There is a pretty terrific creative arts community in Cleveland and they have got to be collectively screaming “WTF!” Again.

I didn’t know the Browns were focusing on a branding change before I read the ESPN story. Yet, some weeks ago when the internet started to go crazy for a bunch of unsolicited helmet designs from a company called Deeyung Entertainment, I was totally wowed by Deeyung’s Cleveland Browns helmet design. It really stood out to me at the time.

Cleveland Brown Helmet Concepts Design DEEYUNG ENTERTAINMENT

Cleveland Brown Helmet Concepts Design DEEYUNG ENTERTAINMENT

A mean-ass dog perched, waiting for you in the shadows. THAT’S football imagery. That screams toughness, meaness, FOOTBALL for God’s sake!

The logo says ‘Our offense will run all over your defense. Our defense will chew up and spit out your offense.’

People don’t get bit by Tigers, Lions and Bears much but more than a few people know what it’s like to get bit by a mean dog. That’s a logo that speaks to your football audience.

You put a paper stick underneath the Browns’ ‘new’ 2015 helmet design and you’ve got yourself an ORANGE TOOTSIE POP! That’s not football! What a missed opportunity for a brand with unlimited potential. Oy!

So I guess I’ll summarize by making a declarative statement. I don’t like the new Cleveland Browns logo. 🙂

3 reasons attending FaffCamp is critical for your voice-over career

FaffCamp is March 19-22, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas

FaffCamp is March 19-22, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas

FaffCamp is coming to San Antonio, Texas March 19-22 this year. If you’re already attending, I look forward to seeing you there as I will be there as an attendee and a presenter.

Registration information is here.

If you work in voice-over, you are invited to attend…like right here, now, this is your invitation. That knocking sound you hear is opportunity.

For those uninitiated, FaffCamp is a peer-to-peer professional development conference for working voiceover pros (not just voice talents, voice actors, and narrators, but all pros who do work related to voice overs). It’s participant driven and highly interactive, just like its sister event FaffCon.

But at FaffCamp much of the agenda is set in advance, which makes it possible for Faff Camp to welcome a larger group.

Plus, there are cool things we do only at Faff Camp, like Topic Tables, Adopt-a-Question, and Lightning Talks! And since we have two tracks, Starting Smart and Working Pro, we welcome voice talents at ALL career stages.

I don’t have an ownership stake in FaffCamp or FaffCon but I am on the organizing committee and have been for many years, because I believe in it.

 This is FaffCamp producer Amy Snively, associate producer Lauren McCullough and Peter K. O'Connell (me), the sponsorship guy at FaffCamp 2013

This is FaffCamp producer Amy Snively, associate producer Lauren McCullough and Peter K. O’Connell (me), “the sponsorship guy” at FaffCamp 2013

FaffCamp and FaffCon have directly helped my voice-over business and here’s how I think it can help yours:

1. FaffCamp presents interactive and expert advice on performance, technology and business management from vetted industry leaders. All of this information is specifically tailored to the voice-over business because the people presenting it are working in the voice-over business

2. FaffCamp is like Voice-Over College. FaffCamp brings together a whole lot professionally and financially successful voice-over talents. Many of these folks are past Faffers who have both learned a lot and shared a lot at Faff events. Bottom line: walking and talking between sessions, at meals and in other social times is basically like going to Voice-Over College. If you have questions – the answers are likely at FaffCamp.

3. You’re surrounded by people who understand you. Either you are today or want to be someone who sits in a booth all day and talks to him/herself. You’re not normal and neither are FaffCamp attendees, cause we do the same thing. We understand the professional and personal challenges of being a performer, a small business owner and bread winner. You got questions? Very likely we’ve got experienced answers and the meter is NOT running.

One last piece of advice: Go.

female voice talents – there may be an opportunity for you


News from All Access today reported that National Public Radio is dropping their current underwriting voice talent. They have one in the interim but it sounds like they may be willing to audition other voices. They seem to want a female voice. Go get ’em, ladies (and no I don’t know where to send you — you have to do SOME work here).

Now while you ladies are practicing saying “This is NPR. National Public Radio” I’d like to address this change of voice talent at NPR.

The long time underwriting voice talent for NPR was a gentleman named Frank Tavares, who had been the underwriting voice talent for a reported 31 years. He was great but a change was made and that’s showbiz.

The network’s idea, it would seem, was to insert a cost-saving move while also vocally changing things up a bit by adding a female voice. OK, no problem there.

Auditions were held and the winning voice talent was an actress named Sabrina Farhi, who started on NPR in October 2013.

Her NPR underwriting reads were awful. Dreadful. Like nails on an angry chalkboard.

And none of the bad NPR reads were her fault. Repeat, NONE of them! I can prove it.

I’d heard Sabrina’s underwriting reads and could not get past the horrible, robotic read she voiced. This was the winner? Didn’t anyone else hear how tone deaf and unlistenable these underwriting reads sounded?

So after a while, during the few times I actually listened to NPR, I just switched away during the underwriting reads. Not what the network wanted, I’m sure. But I assumed it was just my professional ear not being able to grasp what the network was looking for. Maybe I was missing the musicality of it all. Certainly, I’d been wrong before (I told myself) and maybe I’m wrong on this.

Well, given the announced change, I guess not.

However, after reading tonight’s news on the change at NPR, I went to Sabrina Farhi’s web site and listened to her commercial voice-over demo. I couldn’t figure out how this voice got hired!

Upon further investigation, I rule as follows:

Sabrina Farhi has a wonderful voice which offers a clean, thoughtful interpretation of copy. The voice I heard on the TIAA CREF commercial was NOT the read I heard for the NPR underwriting voice-overs.

This woman is a talented voice actress with real chops who, if she was directed to use that TIAA CREF voice on the NPR underwriting reads, would and probably should still be employed today. On a side note, she like me has terrible trouble pronouncing the word “statistically”. And so if she’s anything like me, she’s an amazing voice talent! 😉

So my professional experience leads me to believe that it’s not the voice talent that’s at fault in this case, it’s the producers.

Yup, somebody either in underwriting production or in the underwriting department directed Sabrina to read in a monotone, cold and oblivious way that was evidently unlistenable to more people than just me.

The underwriting voice for NPR has to have a certain authority to it, yes, but NPR (more than any broadcast network) has a kind of humanism attached to it (in my opinion, anyway) that needs to be conveyed in the voice of the radio network. Frank did a great job doing that and Sabrina probably could have too if someone was directing her correctly.

So now it’s been announced that voice talent Jessica Hansen will serve as NPR’s underwriting announcer in a trail run beginning this month. Here’s hoping that she gets a new director who better understands voice-over direction, voice talents in general and the NPR brand.

17 more states to go!


At certain times in their lives, boys become their Fathers.

And so it has happened to me.

Were that I could be 1/2 as great a man as my Da but I have become him in this way: goofy things please me.

He would really enjoy my quest to stay over night in all 50 states. He would love that I will not just be willing to “drive-thru” a state. Where’s the challenge in that?

So this month, I stayed overnight in Tennessee (woot!) and I am now only 17 states away from my goal!

I have officially visited these states in my life:

1. Arizona
2. Arkansas
3. California
4. Colorado
5. Connecticut
6. Florida
7. Georgia
8. Illinois
9. Iowa
10. Kansas
12. Louisiana
12. Maine
13. Massachusetts
14. Michigan
15. Minnesota
16. Missouri
17. Nebraska
18. Nevada
19. New Jersey
20. New York
21. North Carolina
22. Ohio
23. Pennsylvania
24. South Carolina
25. South Dakota
26. Texas
27. Utah
28. Virginia
29. Washington
30. West Virginia
31. Wisconsin
32. Maryland
33. Tennessee

Thus, I am left with these states still to visit:

34. Alabama
35. Alaska
36. Delaware
37. Hawaii
38. Idaho
39. Indiana
40. Kentucky
41. Mississippi
42. Montana
43. New Hampshire
44. New Mexico
45. North Dakota
46. Oklahoma
47. Oregon
48. Rhode Island
49. Vermont
50. Wyoming

It’s good to have goals 🙂

MEDIA RELEASE – O’Connell Goes Back To College

audioconnell Media Release 2015550px

BUFFALO, NEW YORK, February 1, 2015 – – For their recent advertising campaign promoting enrollment in their Business programs, Medaille College sought to highlight its practitioner-based, student-centered and experiential learning opportunities. The campaign’s theme is “Where College Meets Career”.

Listen to the spot HERE.

Key to the success of the audio branding portion of this marketing effort, through an extensive radio advertising campaign, was a voice that resonated with multiple age groups. Medaille College’s Business Administration program attracts a wide range of Undergraduate and Graduate students – from those entering college for the first time to working business professionals looking to enhance their knowledge by pursuing advanced degrees including Bachelor of Arts or Masters of Business Administration.

The school found that audio brand in national voice-over talent and president of audio’connell Voice-Over Talent Peter K. O’Connell, who was selected by Medaille College as the voice of their radio branding effort.

About Medaille College

Medaille College is a private, nonsectarian four-year college with campuses in Buffalo, NY, Rochester, NY and online. Medaille focuses on their students’ success in college and as a future professional by offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in hands-on, practitioner-based learning environments on campus and in the Western New York community.

About Peter K. O’Connell

America’s Friendly, Neighborhood Voice-Over Talent, Peter K. O’Connell, has worked with a wide variety of companies from around the world in addition to this most recent project for Medaille College. Some of Peter’s clients include General Electric, Kraft Foods, PBS Television Network, Shell Oil, Pitney Bowes, Bacardi Rum, Highlights HIGH FIVE Magazine, Deloitte Canada, Rich Products, U.S. Army, Starz Cable Television Network, BlueCross BlueShield, SunSetter Awnings, Time Warner Cable, Harlequin Enterprises and Darien Lake Theme Park.

Described as a natural born storyteller, Peter K. O’Connell’s voice-over productions have been heard globally in radio and TV commercials, medical narrations, television infomercials, political commercial voice-overs, TV network promos, e-learning narration projects (computer-based training, internet-based training and web-based training), PSA’s, message on-hold, as well as other video and media productions. Peter owns audio’connell Voice-Over Talent, a division of O’Connell Communications, LLC and can be reached via audioconnell.com.
– 30 –


Company Media Releases ON LINE:

Company Name Pronunciation:
au·dio·o’·con·nell (awe-de-oh-oh-kah-nel) or au·di-o’·con·nell (awe-de-oh-kah-nel)

Company Name Spelling:
Use lower case letters- audio’connell or audio’connell Voice-Over Talent

Company Web:

Company Blog:

O’Connell Voice-Over Resume:
See resume here