Speaking of audio branding, this story hit the papers this morning, and I was tipped by my mate Daniel in London. Emma Clarke, the voiceover artist responsible for the familiar announcements on the London Underground has been sacked by Transport for London for comments made on her own website.
Clarke had a series of mock announcements posted on her site, all laced with that trademark dry British humour. It seems that the brass at TfL misinterperated her witty remarks, including such digs as:
“We would like to remind our American tourist friends that you are almost certainly talking too loud.”
Play the audio of the above statement
So who’s next? While the phrase “mind the gap” has been used on the Tube for nearly a century, it was Miss Clarke’s silky and inoffensive voice that turned the catch phrase into an audio icon for London at large. That voice was representing Britain, and as the London ‘brand’ is constantly under scrutiny, it leaves a conspicuous hole.
I say they replace her with the Geico Gecko. Or Nigella Lawson. Or Nicky, the occasional co-host from season 1 of the Lost podcast on Channel 4 Radio — I find her voice exceedingly sexy, although I can’t say why.