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11 Actors You Might Not Realize Do Commercial Voiceovers

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Getty Images

Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to skip over all those pesky (and loud!) television commercials during your favorite programs, but that hasn’t stopped some of the country’s biggest corporations and organizations from pulling out the big guns when it comes to voiceover talent. Consider it a nifty little trick to capture your interest and attention—after all, what better way to keep your finger off the remote than the nagging sense that you’ll be able to figure out who is squawking at you to buy a truck or a hamburger or some investment product if only you could listen just a bit longer? 

So which famous actors and actresses have stepped up to the mic to record words on fancy cars, cozy restaurants, and even toilet paper? You might be surprised.

1. John Cusack – Chevrolet

Cusack came on board as the car company’s main (voice) man back in February, when he replaced another actor, Tim Allen, as the voice o’ Chevy. The Say Anything actor might not be the obvious choice to pontificate on “a man and his truck and also a little calf and rain and the outdoors and a broken fence,” but goshdangit, Cusack lends some serious gravitas to a strangely emotional 30-second spot. Will that little lost calf be okay? If Cusack is narrating it, it looks like we’re in the clear.

2. Jon Hamm – Mercedes Benz

The only surprising thing about actor Jon Hamm giving voice to the luxury lifestyle of Mercedes Benz is that more high profile brands haven’t begged him to do the same thing. Sure, he’s got the smooth and sexy tones of the finest voiceover talents, but he also comes with the added weight of his Mad Men tenure. If a guy who makes his car-purchasing dollars by starring on a show about the finest advertising that money can buy is willing to stump for your product, that’s one heck of an endorsement. The best or nothing indeed.  

3. Jason Sudeikis – Applebee’s

Applebee’s may style itself as your friendly neighborhood restaurant (so friendly and neighborhood-y that you can find the exact same joint in other towns around the country!), but that doesn’t mean they skimp on voiceover talent used to tout their affordable fare. Former SNL funnyman Jason Sudeikis may be the current voice of Applebee’s (and his sardonic attitude really works for sandwich-selling, strange as that may seem), but the restaurant chain has used plenty of other high profile talent in the past, including both John Corbett and Wanda Sykes.

4. Morgan Freeman – Visa

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman may be best known for his “voice of God” roles on the big screen, but he’s also used his voice talents for a handful of ads for Visa and the NFL. The velvet-voiced thespian might sound like an odd choice for the spunky commercials, but he still manages to add sophistication and pep to otherwise raucous and relatively straightforward ads.

5. Matt Damon – TD Ameritrade

Online broker TD Ameritrade has been going for whimsy in their latest set of ads, and an upbeat Matt Damon is on hand (on voice?) to add a warm familiarity to the commercials. He might not be instantly recognizable, but once you know it’s the Good Will Hunting star, it’s impossible not to hear his slight Boston lilt in every commercial. Why no one has thought to dispatch Damon for a series of Apple commercials, we’ll never know.

6. John Corbett – Walgreens

While he may be best remembered to a certain subset of Sex and the City fans as the dude Carrie Bradshaw should have ended up with, John Corbett has spent his post-SATC years carving out a hearty voiceover career. The former voice of Applebee’s is now the voice of another major chain, Walgreens. Similar to his work for Applebee’s, everyman Corbett is tasked with making Walgreens seem neighborhood-y and friendly—in his world, it’s located at “the corner of happy and healthy.”

7. Lisa Kudrow – Yoplait

Jamie Lee Curtis may be the face of Dannon’s Activia yogurt, but former Friend Lisa Kudrow gives her a real run for her probiotics as the voice of Yoplait. Kudrow’s yogurt ads are zippy, fun, and fresh—not something people usually associate with boring old yogurt. The familiarity of Kudrow’s upbeat voice keeps things moving along and, oops!, now you’ve bought, just like, a lot of yogurt.

8. Antonio Banderas – Nasonex

It’s one of the weirdest continuing commercials on the tube today—a crudely animated series of ads that feature Antonio Banderas and his sexy accent as the voice of a bee who is shilling for allergy medicine. Nasonex’s ads are almost too weird to work, and yet they appear to, simply thanks to the unshakeable recognizability of their bee-voice. Banderas? More like Beederas.

9. Zach Braff – Cottonelle

Actor/writer/director/Grammy winner (true fact!) Zach Braff has frequently thrown his talents into the commercial ring, giving voice to such products as Pur water filters and Wendy’s fast food, along with his continuing gig as the voice of a puppy in Cottonelle’s toilet paper ads. Like Banderas, Braff’s commercial voiceover isn’t confined to simple narration; he’s also tasked with embodying a strange, seemingly unrelated animal mascot. At least the puppy is cute?

10. Allison Janney – Kaiser Permanente

We would happily listen to actress Allison Janney’s voice all day, and if that means tuning in for Kaiser Permanente commercials, we’ll do it. Who else could possibly sound so soothing, so knowledgeable, and so appropriately chipper while chattering about something as confusing and upsetting as health care coverage?

11. John Krasinksi – Esurance

Another shockingly perfect pairing? Hollywood’s most adorable doofball and car insurance. Figuring out how to insure your vehicle can be a headache and a half, but when John Krasinski pops up on your television to tout the merits of Esurance, it suddenly seems entirely doable. Krasinski has done ads for a whole mess of products, including Kodak, Ask.com, Puma, Apple TV, and Carnival Cruises. If Krasinski is selling it, we're buying.

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From Snoopy to Shark Bait: The Top Slang Word in Each State
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iStock

There’s a minute, and then there’s a hot minute. Defined as “a longish amount of time,” this unit of time is familiar to Alabamians but may stir up confusion beyond the state’s borders.

It’s Louisianans, though, who feel the “most misunderstood,” according to the results of a survey regarding regional slang by PlayNJ. Of the Louisiana residents surveyed, 72 percent said their fellow Americans from other states—even neighboring ones—have a hard time grasping their lingo. Some learned the hard way that ordering a burger “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) isn’t universally understood, nor is the phrase “to pass a good time” (instead of “to have” a good time).

After surveying 2000 people (with proportional numbers from each state), PlayNJ created a map showing the top slang word in each state. Many are words that are unlikely to be understood beyond state lines, but others—like California’s bomb (something you really like) and New York’s deadass (to be completely serious)—have spread well beyond their respective borders thanks to memes and internet culture.

Hawaiians are also known for their distinctive slang words, with 71 percent reporting that words like shaka (hello) and poho (waste of time) are frequently misunderstood. Shark bait, one of the state’s more colorful terms, refers to tourists who are so pale that they attract sharks.

Check out the full list below and test your knowledge of regional slang words with PlayNJ’s online quiz.

A chart showing the top slang words in each state
PlayNJ
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20 States With the Highest Rates of Skin Cancer
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iStock

They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing. Floridians get to soak up the sun year-round, but that exposure to harmful UV rays also comes with consequences. Prevention magazine reported that Florida has the highest rate of skin cancer in the U.S., according to a survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

BCBS surveyed 9 million of its insured members who had been diagnosed with skin cancer between 2014 and 2016 and found that Florida had the highest rate of skin cancer at 7.1 percent. People living in eastern states tend to be more prone to skin cancer, and diagnoses are more common among women.

Here are the 20 states with the highest rates of skin cancer:

1. Florida: 7.1 percent
2. Washington, D.C.: 5.8 percent
3. Connecticut: 5.6 percent
4. Maryland: 5.3 percent
5. Rhode Island: 5.3 percent
6. Vermont: 5.3 percent
7. North Carolina: 5.2 percent
8. New York: 5 percent
9. Massachusetts: 5 percent
10. Colorado: 5 percent
11. Arizona: 5 percent
12. Virginia: 5 percent
13. Delaware: 4.8 percent
14. Kentucky: 4.7 percent
15. Alabama: 4.7 percent
16. New Jersey: 4.7 percent
17. Georgia: 4.7 percent
18. West Virginia: 4.5 percent
19. Tennessee: 4.5 percent
20. South Carolina: 4.4 percent

It may come as a surprise that sunny California doesn’t make the top 20, and Hawaii is the state with the lowest rate of skin cancer at 1.8 percent. Prevention magazine explains that this could be due to the large population of senior citizens in Florida and the fact that the risk of melanoma, a rare but deadly type of skin cancer, increases with age. People living in regions with higher altitudes also face a greater risk of skin cancer due to the thinner atmosphere and greater exposure to UV radiation, which explains why Colorado is in the top 10.

The good news is that the technology used to detect skin cancer is improving, and researchers hope that AI can soon be incorporated into more skin cancer screenings. To reduce your risk, be sure to wear SPF 30+ sunscreen when you know you’ll be spending time outside, and don’t forget to reapply it every two hours. 

[h/t Prevention]

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