5 questions about people in adverts answered

We see the biggest TV adverts more often than our favourite shows - but how much do you know about the stars of the commercials?

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1. Who is the ‘Go Compare man’?

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It was in 2009 that the great British public were first introduced to the pleasures of the operatic advertising jingle courtesy of the ‘Go Compare man’.  Since then Gio Compario (as apparently is his full character name) has featured in more comparison site commercial campaigns than you’ve had hot operas, and has become somewhat of a celebrity appearing alongside the likes of Stuart Pearce, Sue Barker and even Stephen Hawking in ads.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOimeRod4TY&showinfo=0

Gio Compario is played by Wynne Evans, a Welsh tenor born in 1972. Although his advertising alter-ego may be his most recognisable guise to most TV viewers, Wynne is an accomplished professional singer and presenter. 

A student of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio, in 2011 Wynne was chosen to play Ubaldo Piangi in the 25th Anniversary production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall.  He has performed numerous productions with the Welsh National Opera and at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

Wynne signed a six album deal with Warner Music in 2010, and his first album, A Song in My Heart, went straight to number one in the UK Classical Chart in March 2011.  

He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio Wales, and currently hosts a weekday entertainment show.  He’s made numerous television appearances, and in 2015 appeared in an episode of Sky 1’s Stella… where he sang.

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2. Is Barry Scott from the Cillit Bang adverts a real person? 

He’s a straight-talking loud-mouthed dirt-defying brand ambassador who cannot have escaped your attention if you’ve watched British television in the last decade or so… but does the man who says he can clean a penny with his product really exist?

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The answer is no. Although Barry Scott’s death caused quite a stir when it was reported as a hoax by Irish student website Oxygen in 2014 (and subsequently the character has been dropped by the maker of Cillit Bang) it turns out dear old shout Barry was a fiction – he’s really played by an actor called Neil Burgess.

As well as finding fame as Scott, according to his casting page Burgess has amongst many other roles appeared in Waking The Dead as a paramedic, Peter Kay’s Max and Paddy’s Road to Knowhere as Dave the Landlord, Stellar Street the Movie and various stage roles up and down the land.       

3. Who does the voice of Aleksandr Orlov in the Compare the Meerkat adverts?

Who do you go to if you want to promote an online price comparison site, and the Go Compare man is already spoken for? An anthropomorphic aristocratic Russian meerkat and his family – “simples”. 

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But who is the voice of this meerkat who made his fortune in Moscow in the 1970s and now helps others save money so perhaps one day they can live in luxury like him?

“Since we started running the ads in January [2009] lots of people have been trying to find out the person behind his voice,” a source close to the meerkat told the Telegraph 

“Many have had a guess including Jimmy Nail, Paul Gascoigne and Sid Waddell, but it’s none of those.

“A few people who are big fans of I’m Alan Partridge correctly guessed Aleksandr’s voice belongs to Simon Greenall.”

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Now if that’s not a pub quiz fact to remember, I don’t know what is?

4. Who is the woman in the Trivago adverts?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years (or don’t have a television/ wind through the adverts) you must have seen the Trivago advert. It seems to be in almost every ad break on some channels.

Well, if you go to the website of the “actor, dancer, musician, puppeteer and director” Gabrielle Miller, you will find among her extensive list of credits across multiple disciplines, this: “In 2015 Gabrielle gained the title ‘Trivago Girl’, becoming the spokeswoman for multiple advertising campaigns in many countries.”

It turns out that besides helping you find the cheapest deals on hotels, Gabrielle has been rather busy for the last few years writing and performing in an eclectic mix of film, stage productions and cabaret shows – as well as working as a dancer and on a range of production for film and theatre.  She is also a member of a swing jazz vaudeville band, Zap, with whom she’s toured Europe and Asia.

Here they are doing their thing:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2luiM41JHE4&showinfo=0

5. Who is the Diet Coke man?

In 30-plus years of the low-calorie-carbonated-drink-promotion there have in fact been many “Diet Coke men”. One thing they all have in common is that they enjoy performing manual tasks without many clothes on, which more often than not attracts the attention of a group of women to watch them have a “Diet Coke break.”

The first man to take on the role was American actor and model Lucky Vanous who kicked off the iconic campaign in 1994 with a shirtless turn on a building site. Later in the 90s, Vanous was replaced by Robert Merrill, this time enjoying a sparkling drink between window washing duties. Paul Johansson was in a similar advert, this time a delivery guy, and the ad campaign was relaunched after a break in 2007 with French model/actor Francois Xavier in a lift.

The most recent incarnation of this role was played by Andrew Cooper, who in 2013 continued a grand tradition of distracting workers – this time as a gardener.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgimZUJp5FM&showinfo=0