Content Marketing Blog

3 brands that say it like Morgan Freeman

In a sped-up version of human evolution, brands have moved from the equivalent of a single-celled amoeba to opposable-thumbed, moonwalking, twerking homo sapiens – all in the space of a few decades.

Brands no longer just have a name – they’ve moved past existing as a logo and a slogan and now have tones, personalities, voices.

When marketing schools are churning out graduates who are all in on the secret, we’re left in a world where there is no tone left unturned.

There are, however, three brands worthy of a special mention for their metaphorical raised flag on their respective voice territories.

When you see an advertisement or piece of marketing material from one of these brands, you can pick its voice as easily as you would recognise Morgan Freeman’s. They’re universal, noticeable, and totally unique.

Old Spice

“We’re not saying this body wash will make your man smell like a romantic millionaire jet fighter pilot, but we are insinuating it.”

Four years and 47 (and a half) million Youtube views later, Old Spice has carved out the Michael Angelo’s David of brand voices.

It’s no nonsense, it makes no apologies and takes no prisoners. Old Spice has claimed a voice that accepts the ridiculous, tells us straight up what it wants and lets us make up our minds about whether we believe its claims.

The original ad took the 2010 Cannes Lions Film Grand Prix nod, as well as an Emmy nomination for outstanding commercial. Plus, the product saw a casual rise to the number one best selling male body wash in the US.

When a voice is this powerful, it’s no wonder the company is still going strong, recently releasing its newest take on ‘how to smell like a man’. Incidentally, it has already reached 5 million views within its first week online.

Apple 

Love it or hate it, nobody does Apple like Apple.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock – while sitting on a hard place – you will have already seen Apple’s inaugural 1984 ad. It wasn’t quite on-tone with the sleek brand we know today, but it certainly set the scene.

There’s a famous story about when three experts tested new Apple iPods against the MP3 players of the day. Each expert agreed the MP3 player was superior in every way. At the end of the day, these professionals were each offered one product to take home as a thank you. Every single one chose the iPod.

Why?

The pull of the sleek, cool and desirable brand voice had already lodged itself into popular culture. You can spot these ads on TV when you notice the background noise stops yelling at you. There’s no fancy pyrotechnics from the art department, the copywriters rein in their creativity and we’re left with a stripped-back piece of marketing content both as simple and as sophisticated as a Coco Chanel LBD.

A perfect example of these cool, calm and collected Cocos is the iPad Air clip, ‘Pencil‘.

Innocent

Wherever Morgan Freeman was in his first few years of life with that distinguishable voice of his, that’s Innocent Juices. It might not be world-renowned just yet, but it should be, and maybe one day it will be.

This brand’s story begins in 1999 when the founders let music festival-goers decide their fates in the smoothie world. With a big sign asking whether the juicy entrepreneurs should give up their day jobs to make smoothies, a ‘no’ rubbish bin, a ‘yes’ rubbish bin and empty cups as voting chips, history was made.

After a resounding overflowing ‘yes’ bin, they gave up their jobs the next day.

In this case, the fun, daring and accessible voice that came through in the way it all started carries through every piece of brand content Innocent creates.

If you want to ring head office, you must call the ‘bananaphone’, if you want to visit the office, you must pop into ‘fruit towers’, and if you purchase an actual juice carton, you will find it covered in copy and cartoons such as different vessels to drink from (ie. a women’s shoe, a whale’s blowhole or an upturned roadcone).

Just as no one could do Morgan Freeman better than Morgan Freeman, no one else could come near the tone personality, or voice of Innocent.

By Hayley Clark

Castleford