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12Jan/1141

Is it Morgan Freeman on the Morethan adverts?

More Than's 'Morethan Freeman' adverts, which riff off Morgan Freeman's folksy voiceovers from such films as The Shawshank Redemption, have inspired a lot of attention recently.

The most vexatious seem to be whether the voice in question is Morgan Freeman (it's not) and whether More Than had to seek the permission of Freeman to copy his voice (apparently they did).

AdTurds spies suggest that not only was Freeman's permission sought, the drawling actor also - allegedly - received a hefty lump sum for his (lack of) trouble.

And someone apparently from More Than helpfully popped up on the site the other day to explain that of course More Than sought permission before 'blatantly ripping off' his voice - their words, not mine.

My beef with the advert, which I quite like up until the last bit where the cheap pun and trying meme become horribly apparent, is that it plays on the borrowed interest from Freeman, and allows - if not invites - viewers to believe that Freeman is actually doing the voiceover.

A few people have poured scorn on this suggestion, pointing out that it's clearly that little fella at the end of the ad who is called 'Morethan Freeman' which, I think you'll agree, sounds nothing like Morgan Freeman.

Here's what fretful AdTurds have been typing into their search engine in droves (about 20K) over the past week. Again, I'm left to ponder whether this is a genuine happy accident for More Than.

Morethan Freeman search queries

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1Jan/1168

Morgan Freeman apparently voices More Than adverts

Crikey, how did More Than insurance get Morgan Freeman to voice their new adverts with all of his "like a turkey on Thanksgiving eyeing up a bottle of sour mash underneath a hickory tree near a faraway creek..." shtick; a kind of insurance-related take-off of Freeman's folksy voiceovers from such films as The Shawshank Redemption?

Time was, More Than produced some of the most annoying adverts on the box, in the shape of the stupid Julian Barratt-voiced ads that borrowed music from Lionel Richie and Gerry Rafferty and added idiotic gibberings like "easy peasy Lionel Squeezy". It was shit. So shit it was the first AdTurd ever.

More Than seems to have had a bit of a rethink about these ads, which it hoped would "increase the viewer response rate". They now seems to think they're shit too, with marketing director Pete Markey saying that although the company wants "intelligent humour" they don't want to be "silly."

Whether you think a man standing on a roof, talking with Morgan Freeman's voice and calling himself More Than Freeman is not silly probably depends on whether you're a marketing director for More Than.

But I have another issue with this. Namely that it's quite easy to mishear the last line, which explains that it's not narrated by Morgan Freeman. However this clarification sounds exactly like the impressionist is saying "I AM Morgan Freeman" - particularly in the one about tiles.

There's two ways to look at this: either a complete, if fortunate, coincidence - or something rather more calculated.

Because having Morgan Freeman voice your new adverts would lend a huge amount of authority and raise the trust engendered by your brand enormously.

Republicans in North Carolina certainly thought as much in the recent US Congressional elections, as they deliberately used a Morgan Freeman sound-a-like to slag off their Democrat opponents in an attack ad.

That impressionist wasn't as good as the guy doing the voice here, Josh Robert-Thompson, who appears at the end of the adverts, and is helping More Than further their "trust, honesty, strength, and protection".

Well, him and Morgan Freeman.

Morgan Freeman/More Than Freeman adverts

 

The one with the roof
 

 
The one with the car
 

 
The one with the car in the river
 

 
The one with the beams
 

 
The one with the dog