By David Ciccarelli
June 13, 2010
A lot of thought goes into the "right" voice for every advertisement. This, is primarily the role of casting directors. Certainly the tone and timber of a voice are two things that can help sell the product or service. But, probably the most important question every marketer must answer is, should the voice be male or female?
These are some of the findings of a new Adweek Media/ Harris Poll, survey of 2,194 U.S. adults surveyed online by Harris Interactive.
Whether you choose a male or female voice talent depends on what the tone of the ad is attempting to convey. Almost half of Americans (48%) believe a male voice is more forceful while 46% believe a female voice is more soothing so those may be easy choices for a marketing executive to make. However, almost half of U.S. adults also say it makes no difference to them and neither voice is more forceful (49%) or more soothing (46%).
When it comes to actually selling a specific thing, two-thirds of Americans say it doesn't make a difference and neither voice is more likely to sell them a car (66%) or a computer (69%). Among those who believe it makes a difference, over one-quarter (28%) believe a male voice is more likely to sell them a car and 23% say a male voice is more likely to sell them a computer. Only 7% say a female voice is more likely to sell them either.
Men and women do think similarly on the tone of the two types of voices - with one major exception. Over half of men (54%) believe a female voice is more soothing, compared to 38% of women who say the same. One in ten women (11%) believes a male voice is more soothing while 5% of men say the same. The only other real difference between men and women is on the selling of a car. One-third of men (32%) say a male voice is more likely to sell them a car compared to 23% of women who say this.
Stereotypes are very common in voice over and that helps voice talent relate to the script, identify the demographic and better understand the intended audience.
The results conclude that gender stereotypes are alive and well in the way many people react to male and female voiceovers in commercials.
Others have suggested that an interesting experiment might be to re-do the survey, but also factoring in the participants' default dominant communication style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic or digital) to see if there were any trends there.
What are your thoughts on the survey results?
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