Forbes journalist Lacey Rose has published a top 10 list (via E-Poll) of celebrities considered most-trusted by consumers:
1. James Earl Jones
2. Tom Hanks
3. Michael J. Fox
4. Mike Rowe
5. Morgan Freeman
6. Sally Field
7. Ron Howard
8. Will Smith
9. Bill Cosby
10. Denzel Washington
Rose’s article addresses the corporate marketing use of celebrity spokespersons, which follows a semi-regular topic on this blog and other VO forums as it relates to celebrity voiceovers:
Why bother at all with stars? “In a very crowded media environment its hard for companies to stand out,” says Gerry Philpott, president of Los Angeles-based E-Poll Market Research, who gauges the marketability of hundreds of public figures for clients. “They need those names to cut through the clutter.”
Celebrity Endorsement Network president Noreen Jenney believes the repercussions of [Tiger] Woods’–as well as his sponsors’–saga will be felt in subtle ways in the coming months and deals. Among them: Marketers will do that much more diligence on stars’ personal lives before signing them to represent their brands. What’s more, in a post-Tiger era she expects contracts will be written a little differently and marketers will be able to enforce stricter morality clauses regardless of a star’s clout.
A few of the individuals on Forbes’ list have come into high demand as corporate and commercial spokespersons — particularly for voiceovers — such as James Earl Jones, Mike Rowe and Morgan Freeman.
Although Jones is most-widely recognized for voicing Darth Vader (one of the most iconic villains in film history), his voice has been less-villainous as the voice of Mufasa in Disney’s The Lion King, the image voice for CNN and both the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics, and as the narrator for an unabridged audio recording of the King James Bible New Testament (a critically-acclaimed NY Times best-seller).
And while Mike Rowe has gained prominence as the host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, he’s also the spokesperson for Ford/Lincoln-Mercury and has served as narrator/announcer for nearly a dozen popular TV productions such as Ghost Hunters, Ghost Lab, Deadliest Catch and American Chopper.
I’ve been a fan of Morgan Freeman since he played “Easy Reader” and “Count Dracula” on The Electric Company (1971-77), and we also share the same hometown of Memphis, TN (I believe we were even born in the same hospital, although about 35 years apart). He also starred in and narrated my favorite live-action film The Shawshank Redemption, and has narrated many other films and TV productions as well.
On Jan. 4th, The CBS Evening News replaced the late Walter Cronkite with Morgan Freeman to voice the show’s opening.
I started writing an op-ed piece about this afterwards and then dropped it since my fellow VO-blogger Peter O’Connell already said it better than I could, and it was a hot topic on VO-BB and Voiceover Universe as well.
Freeman was interviewed in the January 2010 print edition of Cowboys & Indians Magazine [<–click to read online] discussing his love for horses and "The Old West," and his role as Nelson Mandela in Invictus (for which Freeman also served as executive producer).
Added: 2.02.2010 — You must see video game voice actor and promo announcer Josh Robert Thomspon‘s video featuring his Morgan Freeman sound-alike for The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson:
Thanks to Josh for the heads-up on the video via Facebook.
– 1.14.2010 — Hollywood Actors Face ‘Special Challenges’ in Voice Acting
– 1.02.2010 — SlateV Tests Your Ear for Celebrity Voices