By Stephanie Ciccarelli
May 12, 2006
You'll never forget to lock your car and hide your valuables again!
The British, always first to start new trends, are out to set a new standard in crime prevention by means of celebrity impersonation voice-overs at parking meters in Sheffield.
After much creative thought, six distinct voice-overs mimicking high profile British celebrities were recorded for this intiative by UK voice talent Stuart Smith.
Stuart recorded voice-overs mimicking actor Michael Caine, footballer David Beckham (soccer player to North Americans), David Dickinson, Lily Savage, Jeremy Clarkson and Rolf Harris, cautioning car owners to hide their valuables and lock their cars.
The article, published on a South African news website, iol.co.za reported the following:
Superintendent Mick Webster of South Yorkshire Police said the idea to have celebrity voice-overs came about after early talking messages were deemed too boring.
"Initially we had talking parking meters, but after a while the message became repetitive and people didn't listen to it, so we came up with an idea that will get people to take note," Webster said in a statement.
"The idea is that each celebrity voice has a saying of its own, and we're hoping people will be listening hard, keen to hear all six messages."
I reached Stuart Smith from Celebrity Voices Ltd in the UK, the gentleman who recorded the voices. He has been delighted with the response.
When I was approached to record these voices I thought what a great idea being reminded not to leave any items in your car, Stuart adds We know in the UK that many people still leave satellite navigation equipment (Tom Tom etc) in their cars and being reminded by Simon Cowell or Michael Caine not to do this when parking the car is a great idea, so my company has decided to record a special Tom Tom voice to coincide with the parking meters to combat this. Let's hope this helps cut crime. If not, well, who knows, we might have to get Ozzy Osbourne on the case when you park your car!
What an education! Before reading this article and learning from Stuart, who would have known outside of Britain that voice-overs were used at parking meters?
If you get a minute, read the full article and voice-over scripts for the various celebrity impersonations at your leisure on the iol.co.za website. They're sure to tickle your funny bone and keep your belongings safe!
Photo courtesy of Stuart Smith