Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Legend of Dan Tullis

Everyone knows that there are numerous advertising avenues that can be used to promote a product or service and each of those methods have their pros and cons. For example, televisions ads bring sight and sound to the table but are often expensive. Radio ads, on the other hand, can only provide a listening experience - one of many factors that makes radio advertising more affordable.

I began hearing the following radio ad on the local sports station about six years ago and it seems to always pop up again each spring. Each time I hear this ad, it makes me consider the clash of marketing budgets and the act of promoting a somewhat dull product like life insurance.

I’m an advertising nerd so I'm always looking past or over an ad’s message in order to dissect the elements of the ad. In the above ad, a customer named Dan Tullis contacts an insurance agent named Joel Clark. Near the end of the ad, a narrator provides an "800" number for listeners to call for more information. These 3 voices are deep and fitting for a radio ad but after multiple listenings over the years, I’m convinced that all 3 of those voices are from the same person.

While researching my theory about this ad, I discovered that Dan Tullis is an actual person. His IMDb page credits him with acting roles in several movies and TV shows as well as the voiceover work for Select Quote Insurance, as heard above. Here’s a clip of Mr. Tullis in his recurring role of “Officer Dan” on Married with Children:

While I'm glad that I'm now able to put Dan Tullis' face to his name, that's about the only info that my research provided. I still don't know how or why Dan Tullis came to be the voice of Select Quote Insurance but I bet there’s a great story there!

I'm also not sure why Select Quote Insurance opted to have such a similar voice represent multiple parts in their radio ad. You would think that radio ads require more distinction between voices due to the lack of a visual accompaniment. But maybe budgeting did play a factor, as I mentioned above. It could be that Mr. Tullis' fee prohibited the hiring of other voice actors. It’s also possible that the sound engineers responsible for constructing this ad realized Mr. Tullis' voice could be manipulated to sound like other voices when compacting this lengthy conversation into its short timeframe. Perhaps this was all done by design to get conversations about life insurance started by people like me. MIND = BLOWN.

But seriously...if you happen to have any background on this ad or Mr. Tullis' involvement, please share. I would love to put an end to the 6+ years of questions that pop into my mind each and every time I hear this ad!

Top photo courtesy of the Married With Children Wiki.

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