Julian Barratt has brightened up many an ad break with his voice-over skills. And now he’s brought his silky northern tones to a new ad campaign for Homepride, which broke in the UK yesterday.
The cookery brand is back on TV screens after a 10-year hiatus with a £2.3m ad push that aims to celebrate its 50th anniversary and the relaunch of the brand with a new strapline ‘Everybody loves Homepride’.
We managed to bag a chat about Julian’s involvement in the project with the advertising creative responsible for the campaign – indie film writer/director and all round top geezer, Mike Oughton:
Thanks for talking to us Mike. Can you tell us what the campaign is about?
We’re relaunching Homepride Fred to the mums of Britain. Being that it’s no longer the 1980s, we decided we needed to contemporise the character. So instead of a little 2D cartoon, he’s now a full-sized real-life character who, surreally, appears at mealtimes to help mum. However, dad is a bit put out because Fred takes the ‘helping mum’ thing a little too far.
When can we see the ad/hear Julian do his thing?
The campaign is running on TV, radio and online (we’ve got a Youtube channel, innit.) And Fred is also charming the mums of Britain, and pushing out more content (vids, pics etc.), through his @Homepride_Fred Twitter feed. #LoveFred
Why did you pick Julian Barratt for the voice-over?
We wanted the surreal humour of the concept – a 6-foot cartoon character turning up in your house – to shine through. Sean Bean was busy, unfortunately. So the next best thing, we thought, was to go for someone synonymous with surreal comedy. I’m also a fan of The Boosh and Julian, so it was a great excuse to meet someone I admire.
What was he like to work with?
He was brilliant, of course. It was hugely affirming that he laughed out loud when we showed him the ad for the first time. And he understood exactly what was required of the TV voiceover. He delivered it with just the right amount of ‘dry voiceover man meets knowing comedian’ in his voice. Spot on.
In the radio ads, Julian speaks on behalf of Fred – Fred has a painted-on smile, you see, so doesn’t talk. We think Julian’s intimate voice on radio will charm the mums of Britain into dropping their trolleys… Sorry! I mean, dropping Homepride jars into their trolleys at the supermarket.
Using Julian as vo has also made the The Twitter feed much easier to write. When we imagine him speaking the words, it helps us to hit just the right note of comedic faux sincerity in the tweets.
Oh, did I forget to mention that he was a nice bloke? Well, he was a nice bloke. Taller than I imagined. And he left his earphones behind when he left the recording studio. Damn! I sent them back to him. Could have earned myself a few Euros if I’d auctioned them on here, complete with genuine Julian Barratt ear wax residue.
You can take a look at the first ad below, and keep your eyes and ears peeled for more of Julian’s voice in the forthcoming campaign.
Thanks to Mike Oughton from McCann for taking the time to talk to us.