Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski’s Waze voice option falls flat

Driving with Gronk is a lot less exciting than it sounds

rob gronkowski
Credit: REUTERS/Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Here in New England, the biggest non-Deflategate news surrounding the Patriots was yesterday’s announcement from Dunkin’ Donuts that Rob Gronkowski, the team’s star Tight End, would be providing his voice to GPS app Waze as part of a Dunkin Donuts/Waze partnership. In addition to providing driving directions, traffic conditions and other reports (such as hazards on the road, accidents and other traffic situations), Gronkowski’s voice is supposed to “remind users about Dunkin’ Donuts locations along the way where they can keep themselves running with the brand’s famous coffee, beverages and sandwiches,” Dunkin’ Donuts said in a press release.

I’m a fan of the Patriots, Gronk, Waze (I’ve got “Royalty Waze” status) and Dunkin’ Donuts, so I eagerly downloaded the celebrity voice option for Gronkowski and took it for a spin on my morning and afternoon commutes. Dunkin’ Donuts should get its money back.

Gronk’s voice is pretty boring in this app. He’s crafted an image of being this cool, party dude with an attitude, yet most of his directions were “Turn left”, “Turn right,” etc. The only time you really hear some of his personality is when you start navigating or when you reach your destination and you get quips like “I’m so amped for this ride, let’s roll”, or “We tight.” When a hazard approaches, you get a “Keep your head in the game”, and he uses football-related phrases like “Touchdown!” when you reach your destination or “Interception!” when you have to make a U-Turn, but they’re pretty uninspired readings. It would have been more exciting to get a “Turn left, bro” or “Turn right, dude,” which wouldn’t have taken that much more effort.

Even more embarrassing for Dunkin and Waze is how inaccurate their locations are on the app. In my hometown there are two Dunkin’ Donuts locations, and on the Waze app one of the locations wasn’t on the map, and the second one was in the wrong spot on the map. In a third location (Framingham, Mass.), I drove right by the Dunkin’ Donuts and the app didn’t trigger any kind of Gronk reminders as suggested by the press release.

If you want to experience a more enjoyable celebrity voice option, check out the Colonel Sanders voice (as part of a KFC promotion), or even the UK Boy Band voice, which sings your directions (my kids’ favorite voice option). A few months ago they offered Arnold Schwarzenegger doing the voice as The Terminator, much more enjoyable than the Gronkowski voice.

Grade: 2 stars (out of five)

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