Some people have voices that are made for voiceover work. You can listen to them talk about products as unglamorous as toilet paper, and somehow, it sounds so much cooler.
The actors on this list have that “it” factor. They make you turn your heads, stop what you’re doing, and pay attention – everything you want from a good TV commercial.
Here are 14 companies with the best voiceover commercials and actors:
#1: Pure Michigan
The Voice: Tim Allen
Where You Know Him? He’s the voice of Buzz Lightyear and the guy from “Home Improvement.”
Tim Allen is the guy who voices the Pure Michigan commercials. These ads started in 2008 and had a solid run up until 2018.
According to Michigan’s tourism website, the “Pure Michigan campaign is helping drive the state’s economy.” Forbes, meanwhile, ranked the ad as one of the top travel campaigns of all time. Tim Allen’s distinct voice and infectious enthusiasm deserve a lot of the credit for this success. To infinity (or Michigan) and beyond!
The Voice: Morgan Freeman
Where You Know Him? He’s literally in everything, but some standouts include The Shawshank Redemption and Se7en.
You simply can’t have a great voiceovers list without mentioning Morgan Freeman. This Oscar winner lent his hypnotic voice to a series of Visa commercials that aired from 2008 to 2018.
Freeman was paid between $1 million and $2 million for being the voice of Visa, and even still, that hasn’t been his only foray into voiceover work. He also served as the narrator for movies like War of the Worlds and March of the Penguins and worked with other brands like Mountain Dew. There’s something distinct and comforting about Freeman’s drawling tone.
The Voice: Julia Roberts
Where You Know Her? Six words… “pretty woman, walking down the street…”
Julia Roberts has a ton of fans and is always a huge draw at the box office. Few people know, though, that this A-list actress also voiced Nationwide commercials in 2012.
The partnership started in 2012, and according to Jennifer Hanley, senior VP of brand marketing at Nationwide, “Julia Roberts’ voice brings an assuring, confident tone to the campaign that resonates well with our target audience.” Roberts has a voice that is well-loved and recognized by many people, but especially female viewers.
#4: Mercedes Benz
The Voice: Jon Hamm
Where You Know Him? You can catch Hamm as Don Draper in AMC’s hit show, “Mad Men.”
Jon Hamm has proudly been the voice for Mercedes Benz since 2010. The first commercial was for the S400 Hybrid, a vehicle with night vision, adaptive cruise control, and no kidding, massage seats!
It makes sense for a dapper gent like Hamm to be the voice of a luxury vehicle, and to his credit, he’s completely embraced being the spokesman. The Golden Globe winner even made a surprise appearance at the New York International Auto Show in 2014. Hamm’s voice exudes confidence and sophistication – everything you want from a vehicle that costs upwards of $30,000.
The Voice: George Clooney
Where You Know Him? The silver fox was a mainstay in the show “ER”and has since made the A-list with movies like Ocean’s Eleven and Up in the Air.
Budweiser is the beer of sports games, concerts, and parties with friends. It was missing a sense of intrigue and mystery. Cue George Clooney – the Oscar-winning actor who started voicing commercials for the brand in 2005.
Anheuser-Busch was looking for “a classic voice” to promote Budweiser beer. Clooney was a no-brainer as he’s got that old Hollywood charm, while still being adored by a modern audience. All of this booze must have gotten under his skin! In 2013, Clooney started his own tequila company called Casamigos.
The Voice: Julianna Margulies
Where You Know Her? Margulies does a ton of TV work with starring roles on “The Good Wife,” “The Sopranos,”and “ER.”
Julianna Margulies is the proud mom of a beautiful baby boy. She was an absolute no-brainer to do voiceover work for Pampers, a diaper company in business since 1961.
Pampers is currently the #1 diaper brand in the world, with over $10 billion in annual sales. Margulies, meanwhile, is an actress you know only if you watch any of her shows. She’s not overly flashy on the red carpet or in your face at awards events, and it’s this humility that makes her an approachable voice for Pampers.
#7: Pizza Hut
The Voice: Queen Latifah
Where You Know Her? The Queen is a multi-hyphenate who’s had a music, acting, and Broadway career. Catch her in movies like Chicago and Girls Trip.
Do you have a craving for a slice of pepperoni pizza? Blame it on Queen Latifah! The super talented actress and musician voiced a ton of ads for Pizza Hut starting in 2003.
Tom Jones, the CMO at Pizza Hut, wanted to promote “family” in the campaigns and believed Queen Latifah would help push the idea. The pizza chain threw $300 million toward the ads, and 7,000 locations even took it further by handing out free DVDs with the order of a large pizza. That way a family could spend a night-in together eating pizza and watching movies.
#8: Planters Peanuts
The Voice: Bill Hader
Where You Know Him? Hader was a mainstay on “Saturday Night Live”for 8 years and most recently played the older version of Richie in IT Chapter Two and a hitman in the HBO show, “Barry.”
Following in Robert Downey Jr.’s footsteps, Bill Hader took over in the role of voicing Mr. Peanut in 2013. No word yet as to whether or not he’s going to voice Baby Nut, too.
Peter Cotter, the brand manager for Planters, believed the SNL alum was perfect as his voice has a “sense of humor and personality perfectly in sync with Mr. Peanut’s style, wit, and charm.” Mr. Peanut was officially killed off by Planters in 2019, but don’t worry. Hader is still going strong with a ton of new projects in the works such as a starring role in a dramedy called Empress of Serenity.
#9: Southwest Airlines
The Voice: Rashida Jones
Where You Know Her? If you’re like millions of other people, you love “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.”Rashida Jones is in both of those hit shows.
This is your captain speaking, today’s flight is brought to you by Rashida Jones. The actress took to the skies in 2015 to do voiceovers for Southwest Airlines.
In the commercial, “transfarency,” or no hidden fees, was introduced by Southwest for the first time. This quickly became a buzzword, and for her part, Jones helped bring emotional storytelling to the ads. The end result was praise for the TV spots and more travelers flying Southwest than ever before, with 151.7 million in 2016.
The Voice: John Goodman
Where You Know Him? That’s Roseanne’s husband in the show “Roseanne” and the voice of Sully in Monsters, Inc.
Back in the early 80’s, John Goodman did the voiceovers for Dunkin’ Donuts commercials. This was right before his starring role in the hit sitcom, “Roseanne.”
A lot has changed for both Goodman and Dunkin’ Donuts since their early collaboration. Goodman is returning as Sully in the new Monsters Inc. spinoff show on Disney+ and starring in the sitcom “The Coopers.” Meanwhile, Dunkin’ Donuts is now just Dunkin’ and has been steadily growing with quirky branded merchandise and over $23 million in revenue. Still, those early days for the actor and brand were hugely successful and established both as sweet and approachable.
The Voice: Aaron Paul
Where You Know Him? He’s Jesse Pinkman in the show “Breaking Bad” and the Netflix spinoff El Camino.
Aaron Paul was a huge fan of living on the edge as Jesse Pinkman in “Breaking Bad.” Few people now, though, that he also did voiceover work for Mazda’s “Driving Matters” ad campaigns in 2016.
“Breaking Bad” ran for five seasons, and weirdly enough, Jesse Pinkman drove a Toyota in the show. A Mazda is a higher-end vehicle, and one that is designed for a car enthusiast. In fact, their “target loves a vehicle that is fun to drive.” With his history as a fast-driving dealer in “Breaking Bad,” and with a starring role in Need for Speed, Aaron Paul was a no-brainer for the voiceover.
#12: Gold Peak Tea
The Voice: Ron Howard
Where You Know Him? Gen X’ers might recognize him as Richie in the show “Happy Days.” Today, he’s better known for being behind the camera as a director for award-winning movies like Apollo 13 and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
In 2014, Ron Howard did a voiceover for a Gold Peak Tea commercial. The ad is only 30 seconds but popularized the slogan, “The taste that brings you home.”
Gold Peak Tea is manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company. The goal with their 2014 ad was to highlight “the home brewed taste” that makes this iced tea so delicious. Ron Howard might not seem like an obvious choice, but he’s served as a wholesome narrator before on shows like “Arrested Development.” He has also done family-friendly films like How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
#13: LG Appliances
The Voice: Leslie Mann
Where You Know Her? She’s starred in comedies like Big Daddy, Knocked Up, and 17 Again and is married to famous director Judd Apatow.
Leslie Mann worked with LG Appliances in 2014 for a series of ads titled, “Mom Confessions.” In these spots, she served as the voice of a mother who has a few thoughts about being an adult and parent.
“Mom Confessions” was created by ad agency Hill Holliday, and each of the four commercials had a humorous angle. According to David VanderWaal, head of marketing at LG, “We were looking for a way to cut beyond the product and connect in a way no other brand was doing in our space.” With her quirky sense of humor, Leslie Mann was the perfect choice for the voiceovers.
The Voice: John C. Reilly
Where You Know Him? He’s the curly stepbrother alongside Will Ferrell in the comedy Step Brothers and the voice of Ralph in Wreck-It Ralph.
Nothing quite says W2’s and 1040A’s quite like John C. Reilly. The Oscar nominated actor did voiceover work for TurboTax in 2013 for the spot, “The Year of the You.”
The funnyman might seem like a weird choice for tax software, but don’t forget, Reilly wears many hats. He sang his heart out in the musical Chicago, voiced the titular charter in the popular animated film Wreck It Ralph, and has openly supported a number of charities like the American Foundation for Equal Rights. He’s a goofy, everyday guy with a heart of gold, which is exactly what TurboTax was going for in their commercial.
No matter what, it’s important that your company always has something to say! Take some time to really think about what voice makes sense for your message, whether it’s in your ad copy, in your commercials, or what gets printed on your promotional items like coffee mugs or t-shirts.
There should always be a great voice behind every brand!
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