By heck, Gromit! That voice sounds familiar...
Wallace and Gromit voice actor Ben Whitehead has created a cheery Christmas voice for supermarket chain Morrisons.
Ben, who plays Wallace in the hit animation created by Preston’s Nick Park, has created Festive Fred, whose voice has all the qualities of the “Cheeriest Voice” formula when delivering the self-service till prompts.
Morrisons has worked with a leading voice scientist to find the formula for the ‘cheeriest voice’ and will be using it on self-service checkouts from the end of November.
The move is designed to put a smile on busy shoppers’ faces in the run-up to the big day and coincides with the roll out of new and improved self-service tills across all its stores, due to complete before the end of the month.
The project team that developed the festive voice have dubbed him ‘Festive Fred’ and he contains qualities of Brian Blessed, Terry Wogan, Miranda Hart and Keith Chegwin’s speech. Noddy Holder was found to have the cheeriest voice of all because of “a blend of slightly increasing average pitch, increasing pitch modulation and heightened variation in intonation.”
The Morrisons Supermarket Team, conscious that Christmas can be stressful, wanted the voice of the self-service checkouts to be more cheery and more festive. Festive Fred will wish shoppers a Merry Christmas, and tell them not to “get their tinsel in a tangle” if a surprise item is detected in the bagging area.
Morrisons worked with expert sound engineer Shannon Harris to carry out experiments and analyse the voices of cheery celebrities & those voices commonly associated with the festive season
Lyz Cooper, founder of The British Academy of Sound Therapy, who also worked with Morrisons said: “With a cheery voice, sound rises in pitch, increases in variation, intonation and volume or tempo. The brain responds to this with an increased heart rate and the body releases dopamine, a feel good chemical associated with pleasure. Listening to a voice that is animated with cheery qualities induces a general uplift in mood and therefore cheers people up.”
Gary Mills, retail director said: “We know the Christmas shop can be stressful and we want our customers to leave our stores feeling festive.”
Wallace and Gromit were created by Walmer Bridge-born animator Nick Park.