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Women's Changing Voice in VO

Women drive the majority of consumer spending. Some reports claim women make up 85% of all consumptive spending. Since women are the drivers, it is paramount advertisers know what and how to market to this audience. Hint: if you’re marketing pink, pretty and perfect…you’ve missed the majority of the gen z, millennial and gen z female market’s aesthetics, values and beliefs.

The current majority of consumer spending comes from these three generations of buyers who can’t be pigeonholed into convenient categories used traditionally in advertising. These women are not just nurturers but athletes, CEOs, teachers, makeup artists and truck drivers. They like juice cleanses and fast food. Rock climbing and ballet. Manicures and blisters. Safety and risk. Community and isolation. And yes, they are also pretty, pink and perfect. And they want to be seen as all of the above in their advertisements.

Some advertisers might not know what steps they need to take to capture such a vast and diverse audience in their voice over casting. Do they niche way down and only speak to very small groups? Do they find a generic sound that can encompass as much as they can? Or do they stick with the tried and true stand-bys of yester-year? Recently, the smartest advertisers are doing none of those things and simply letting the story be the driver of the advertisement rather than a conventional normative sound. Because they understand that while the audience is diverse, when we don’t see or hear ourselves represented exactly…say a windex commercial is being voiced by a bold personality like Awkwafina rather than a typical ‘sweet and kind but over it mom’ voice, we will still be able to relate to that experience and therefore the product.

Recently, I got to do a commercial for a regional automotive dealership. My voice is youthful, textured, unique and conversational. So you’re probably thinking that it was a Honda dealership and I was advertising the newest sporty Civic. Well, you’d be wrong. It was Lexus advertising their September to Remember’s newest and sexiest line of cars. Now that’s bold! What these smart advertisers took into account was that deep, smooth, seasoned and sexy used to be the only sound needed for luxurious cars. The idea was that they were appealing to a specific wealthy, older and generically male audience. But now with this diverse group of female buyers, we have a population who want to feel lux and sexy but don’t need the redundancy of the voice to match the product. They need to relate to the story of the car and the experience of the voice telling the tale. Now that the story is relatable, the product is too. (p.s. I was informed by my agent that the ad agency is very happy with how the ad is performing and loved working with me. phew!)

Word to advertisers: keep the sounds of the stories open, unexpected and interesting. With the buying power of the female consumer and how varied those consumers are, you might be surprised what a little ingenuity can do!

Word to voice over artists: keep cultivating your specific voice and approach. Study your pitch, cadence and pace with curiosity and love. And please don’t cast yourself out of opportunities that you haven’t felt you were ‘right’ for in the past based on your voice type. Ask yourself if you have a unique perspective on the story being told and put your own unique spin on it. You, too, might be surprised by what a little ingenuity can do for your career.

Keep playing!

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