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Brian Blessed coming to a TomTom near you soon

Article by: Mike Barrett
Date: 5 Aug 2010

pocketgpsworld.comThe power of the community triumphs this week with the news that a campaign for Brian Blessed to be the voice of TomTom has succeeded. Richard Gardner wanted Brian to tell him where to go on his TomTom so he set up the Brian Sat Nav Campaign FaceBook page then promptly forgot about it. Revisiting this year he approached TomTom who said they would arrange it if he got over 25,000 members.

Well that figure has been achieved, possibly due to the help of a low budget YouTube video featuring the big man himself. So watch out for very loud driving instructions coming to your TomTom very soon.

This proves that our communities do have an effect on big companies, if just in a small way. Brian Blessed sends his thanks to every one of the 25,775 members that voted to bring his distinctive voice to their SatNavs with a personal message.

The official TomTom press release follows:
Facebook group of 25,000 vote for Brian Blessed to be the new voice of sat navŠ

"Once more into the driver's seat, dear friends, once more..."

The voice of Brian Blessed will soon be bellowing out of your sat nav after a campaign on Facebook attracted over 25,000 members.

Motorist Richard Gardner from Saddleworth, Manchester decided he wanted his driving experience to be shoutier and more beardy. But when he discovered that the king-sized actor's booming voice was not available on his TomTom sat nav, he decided to set the wheels in motion himself.
Richard launched a Facebook group called "Campaign to get Brian Blessed to do a voice-over for my sat nav" in April 2008, and promptly forgot about it. In February 2010, he revisited it to find 450 members. Realising there was some demand for the voice he proceeded to spread the word and within weeks attracted several thousand members.

As the petition gathered momentum, Richard contacted TomTom who said they would open negotiations with Brian Blessed if the group attracted 25,000 supporters. Richard then approached the big Yorkshireman himself, who agreed to film a campaign video and lend his voice if the target was reached: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JpKuYbJQK4

The group now has 25,772 members and TomTom has confirmed that the Official Shoutsperson of the University of York Douglas Adams Society will also be the new voice of sat nav from October.

"I believe this is the first time that a product has been created through social media," Gardner said. "Companies have been spending so much time and money trying to work out how to use Social Media to sell us stuff, I wondered whether it was time they started thinking about using it to ask us what we'd like to buy?"
Perhaps best known for his role as Prince Vultan of the Hawkmen ("Drive, my Hawkmen, Drive...") in the film Flash Gordon, Brian Blessed will now be able to 'save every one of us' from getting lost. It's not yet known whether he will shriek "Gordon's arrriiiiiived" when drivers reach their destination.

Damian Woodward, TomTom UK VP sales and marketing said: "Voices are becoming an ever more popular personalisation tool for our sat navs and it's been an interesting journey watching this particular campaign take shape. It shows the power of social media, and if we can bring shouty happiness to over 25,000 people who are we to deny it?"
More information about the group can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/BrianSatNav which will continue to be updated with information, videos and competitions ahead of the voice launch.

Brian Blessed is "thrilled to bits": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOicbYFq4C0

Consumers can also post suggestions for voices they'd like to hear on their TomTom sat nav at:

The best-selling celebrity voices for TomTom have been Homer Simpson, John Cleese and rapper Snoop Dogg, with Billy Connolly and Darth Vader recently added to the collection.

TomTom sat nav devices guide drivers with audible, turn-by-turn instructions and 3D maps, saving time and money through technical innovations such as IQ Routes. This is based on the world's largest collection of historical speed profiles - 1.8 trillion speed measurements - across 15 million kilometres of European roads. TomTom's Live Services include HD Traffic for real-time traffic information, updated every three minutes.
Posted by Wazza_G on Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:38 am Reply with quote


Now how about Sir Patrick Stewart?

Turn left, join the motorway & engage at Warp 7! Very Happy

Be alert.. This country needs more lerts.

Posted by Guivre46 on Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:03 pm Reply with quote

Now we will need a new application to turn the sound down.....

Mike R [aka Wyvern46]
Go 530T - unsupported
Go550 Live [not renewed]
Kia In-dash Tomtom

Posted by DennisN on Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:16 pm Reply with quote

As a techno numpty, I have no idea how to set up a Facebook group. If I did, I'd set up several demanding that TomTom correct stuff, one group for each - like phone pairing, handsfree crashing, stuttering voices, bad screen refresh and all the other things that have been messing up our TomToms for so long.

Or maybe just persuade Brian Blessed to record a short YouTube video for each one.

Oh, and they already DID solve the upcoming volume problem, back in Navcore 8.351, by setting all volumes much lower (as opposed to suggesting that users turn the volume down themselves).


If it tastes good - it's fattening.

Two of them are obesiting!!

Posted by SpikeUK on Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:17 am Reply with quote

I'm not sure what they're trying to tell us here, but at the top of the list of alternative videos on that YouTube page is:

"Cat Hiccupps and Farts at the Same Time".


Tomtom 930 - excellent
Tomtom 700 - retired

Posted by Guivre46 on Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:41 am Reply with quote

DennisN Wrote:
Oh, and they already DID solve the upcoming volume problem, back in Navcore 8.351, by setting all volumes much lower (as opposed to suggesting that users turn the volume down themselves).

Yes the oh so useful, "Link volume to noise level" option which is only good for sitting in the car with the engine off.

Mike R [aka Wyvern46]
Go 530T - unsupported
Go550 Live [not renewed]
Kia In-dash Tomtom

Posted by MaFt on Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:13 pm Reply with quote

call me cynical, but how on earth did 'an average motorist' get brian blessed to do that 'promo video'?

and if you were doing a video for a bit of fun to try get brian on a satnav would you really do a 4minute video? must have taken hours to edit! and look at how many camera shots there were? ok, the cameras were a bit shaky but it looked properly directed to me...

i think i smell a rat in their PR here...


Posted by Guivre46 on Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:09 am Reply with quote

Yes, it does seem to have generated a bit of publicity:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/7930644/Brian-Blessed-new-voice-of-TomTom-Sat-Nav.html Rolling Eyes

....and a second article about the other 10 celebrity voices available.

Mike R [aka Wyvern46]
Go 530T - unsupported
Go550 Live [not renewed]
Kia In-dash Tomtom

Posted by mikealder on Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:37 am Reply with quote

Was also on the BBC News earlier this morning although they are not allowed to mention the manufacturer of the Nav unit...... - Mike

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