Battle of the Sexes – Which Voice Works? When? Why?
In a world…where anything is possible…success in the VO business still eludes us…
We hope you read that in a ‘Don LaFontaine’ voice – but how about try reading it with a female voice instead? Do you think it has the same impact? After doing a little research this week we thought it’d be interesting to investigate the differences between male and female VO. Obviously tone, timbre, delivery etc are all important factors that are taken into consideration, but ultimately we want to know what makes or breaks it in the world of voice over!
So, how do casting directors determine which gender they want to play the part? Of course it depends on the targeted audience and what the product is – a car? Computer? Music festival? Radio game show? An action movie trailer? In 2010 online surveyors ‘Harris Interactive’ surveyed 2000 online participants on the issue. They asked people to give their opinions on which gender was more soothing, authoritative, and more persuasive – and you can probably guess the results. Majority of the voters believed the female voice was more soothing and the male was more forceful. However, there was a fairly even result on which was more persuasive…apparently both the male and female voice over get the job done! To view the full results, see the article: http://www.procommvoices.com/wordpress/does-gender-matter-when-casting-voice-talent. After more research we’ve discovered that scientific studies show that the female voice is more soothing because we subconsciously relate it back to when we were in our mother’s womb, she being the first sounds you hear and automatically place your trust in. This makes sense…so it also makes sense that advertisers would take advantage of this and use the female voice as an emotional trigger. So ladies, get around those advertising VO gigs!
We found another interesting article from the New York Times released in early January this year. In ‘Why Men Always Tell You To See Movies’, Andy Isaacson discusses how we have been subconsciously programmed to expect the dominant male voice over for film in our history. He uses the film ’Gone In 60 Seconds’ with Melissa Disney as the most obvious example of a female voice over for the trailer, and gives Melissa’s thoughts about the fact that the female voice is not utilized enough in film, television, radio and advertising – after all, men are attracted to the sound of sexy, seductive women! Check out the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/movies/trailer-voice-over-work-scarce-for-women.html?_r=0
And for those who haven’t seen the trailer for ‘Gone In 60 Seconds’, starring Angelina Jolie and Nicholas Cage, have a look and let us know what you think!
So next time you’re listening to commercials on television or radio, pay attention to whether it’s a male or female – which one appeals to you more? Do you prefer the distinct Don LaFontaine style VO in film or would you like to hear more of the sexy female voice? In advertising, do you trust the voice of a man or woman more?
We want to know your thoughts!