Backlash from actors against competition to be the face of the new Virgin Trains ‘talking toilet’

This week, Virgin Trains launched a competition online for a chance to become the new voice of their onboard talking toilets.

“Our talking toilets are famous, and now you could be too! We’re looking for up to five people to become the new voice of our toilets.

To help you with your audition we’ve enlisted none other than Dean Gaffney – cleverly disguised as a bot. You’re sure to be flushed with success after Dean has lifted the lid on his top audition techniques. Don’t pretend you’ve never wanted to DM Dean Gaffney…

Audition now for the toilet role of a lifetime. We hope it pans out for you…”

This video has been shared on social media but actors are hitting back, claiming that Virgin Trains are trying to get away with not having to pay a trained voice over actor to do this job and calling on Equity, the trade union for actors, to get involved.

I am amazed at the response this advert has been receiving online check out the twitter feed and the amount of people claiming it is a way for Virgin Trains to avoid paying an actor to do the job.

This is very clearly just a clever marketing campaign, thought up as a way to gain exposure of the brand by involving its customers to engage in a competition for a chance to hear their voice on the trains. No, they aren’t offering a fee – because this isn’t a job, it is a competition. If they were trying to avoid paying an actor to do the job, why would they pay Dean Gaffney to star in an advert for the competition and pay to have it filmed? I’m sure that would have cost much more than just hiring a voice over actor to record the new voice for them.

Remember Howard Brown, the Halifax employee who became the face of the brand in 2000? Was he taking the job away from a trained actor? Or how about all the times Nestle have looked to the public to find the latest Milky Bar Kid?

I know we are living in a time where everyone is on the look out for wrong doing against their profession but this surely isn’t something to fight for? It is a bit of fun and if people can’t see that then we are living in a very sad world, where a normal, everyday person can’t have a bit of fun and perhaps enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Let me know!

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