Pretty Voices Are Overrated
Men's Wearhouse: “You're gonna like the way you look, I guarantee it.”
L’Oreal: “Because your worth it”
Geico: “A 15 minute call could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
Don LaFontaine: “In a world…”
Remember these famous taglines? We always used to think, “wow, what a voice!”. That's how brands used to sell on TV commercials - by using a superhuman voice to establish authority and make you believe what they're telling you.
But what's the common thread between all of these brands? They all established themselves at least 20 years ago.
Today, Commercial Voiceover is a lot more nuanced. Advertisers have embraced the quirky, the colloquial, and the familiar to get our trust - no longer trying to be the authority compelling us to “buy buy buy”.
Why the shift? Today's consumers, at large, are objectively more sophisticated than they used to be. That makes them harder to sell to. If advertisers tried the old approach, today's consumers would simply see through the shiny authority-signaling and call BS. And invariably, skip the commercial (because they can now).
Since the advertising strategy has shifted, naturally, the tone of the Voiceover must shift. These days, if you have a demo reel or submit an audition sounding like Don LaFontaine (the “In a world” guy), even if you sound great, most directors would write you off as a novelty. They wouldn't even consider you for a naturalistic or friendly read. It just wouldn't fit.
They're looking for someone with a common, relatable and down-to-earth sound who will make their client's customers feel like they're being addressed by a friend. Because as we all know, the most powerful marketing tool is a referral from a friend.
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