Lip-sync sinks expectorant expectations

CoughSyrupYou might find this amusing as you watch the attached video clip.

During the late nineties, I was asked by the film production company, Warner Lambert if I would be interested in making an advertising video to promote the product ‘Benylin Expectorant’.  This would then be viewed by the client to see if they were interested in proceeding.

Warner Lambert wanted the aria ‘Nessun dorma’ from Turandot as their selling point.  The day came for the recording in a studio close to Shepherds Market in Central London.  I unfortunately had contracted a throat infection and was unable to sing live, however I offered them the opportunity of playing a recording of mine, with orchestra, to which I would mime or lip-sync.

Even though you know a piece so well, and the way you sing it is so familiar, it is really difficult to get everything together.  We did ten takes of the extract (the last part of the aria), taken from different camera angles and with different lighting.

Eventually the company decided to adopt this as an advertising campaign, but they said that they could not use me, as I was too well established and therefore not able to endorse their product.  They eventually took an unknown tenor, hired an orchestra and a venue, and produced the advertisement.  I won’t comment on the tenor they used, but it seemed that the Benylin didn’t work!

Enjoy the end of ‘Nessun dorma’ ten times.  You won’t have to rewind the video!



6 thoughts on “Lip-sync sinks expectorant expectations

  1. Actually it was because they weren’t able to use anyone established/a known name to endorse a medical product. A missed opportunity for some home grown talent to do the honours – and a needle in a haystack scenario to find a tenor somewhere else on the planet who could sing Nessun Dorma well enough for a three-takes-only live film and record, was not known in the UK and was available at very short notice.

    • Dear E. Cutler, Thank you for your comment. I have approved it to be included in all comments of my blog posts, as it actually confirms what I stated in the final paragraph of said blog. Thank you.

  2. My father directed TV commercials (in Chicago), so this is very interesting to me. I’m surprised that someone being well established would be seen as a negative for an endorsement. But companies and ad agencies have priorities of their own, that are a mystery to others.

    • Hi Rinaldo, Yes, it is mystery but I got the feeling that it would cost them less with a ‘no name’, whereas with me they would have had to pay a fee each time the ad was shown as well as an initial recording fee. Regards, David.

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