Tucked into a recent New York Times article on Lowe's new advertising campaign was a morsel that TV viewers and radio listeners with a savvy ear might have picked up on lately, too: Oscar-winning actor Gene Hackman is no longer "the voice of Lowe's." His deep, reassuring, weathered tones had served that role since 2001, in recognizable fashion - and that familiarity proved a bit of an issue when it came to the new ads, which are meant to promote the Mooresville-based home improvement chain's customer service. They feature actors playing Lowe's employees and focus on the ways that Lowe's can help customers.
Says the Times:
The prominent role for employees in the campaign is among several changes by the brand’s creative agency, BBDO New York. Others include replacing the actor Gene Hackman as the voice-over announcer for TV and radio commercials and adding the word “experience” to the longtime theme, “Lowe’s. Let’s build something together.”
The new theme becomes “Experience. Lowe’s. Let’s build something together.” Or maybe it is “Experience Lowe’s. Let’s build something together.” Depending on your ear, it sounds as if Mr. Hackman’s successor, an actor named Ben Yannette, says the slogan both ways.
Tom Lamb, Lowe's senior vice president for marketing and advertising, praised Hackman's work and said that he has been "incredible for our brand" - but noted the company wanted a more plain-spoken, less recognizable voice to fit the campaign.
"It's more reality-based, and we wanted to highlight our employees as heroes in the spots," spokeswoman Laurie Buckelew said. It's unclear if or when the sounds of Hackman will return, she said: "We can't speculate about the voiceover we may use in the future."