At Wyzowl, we are often asked for our opinion on both male and female voiceover artists.
Our clients will usually ask something along the lines of, "Which voiceover is "better"? Male or Female?"
The truth is, neither one is "better". But both have different attributes that can make them better-suited to your video.
In this article, we're going to look at the real facts to help you decide which voiceover you should use to represent your brand: male or female.
Let's begin by discussing female voiceovers. A female voice can have many positive connotations. We associate female voices with being trustworthy, soft, believable. In fact, one in five Americans even considers a female voiceover to be more persuasive than a male one.
While this may be true to an extent, it can be argued that a female voiceover cannot be more persuasive than a male one when it comes to selling something like beer, or razor blades, or any products that are prominently aimed at men.
Likewise, a male voiceover won't be as effective as a female one when it comes to selling products aimed at women. Take a look at the examples below.
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Female Example: Maybelline
American make-up brand, Maybelline has had the same recognisable slogan since 1991: "Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline."
The slogan first appeared in 1991, in this ad:
As you can see, originally a male voiceover artist said the first part, "Maybe she's born with it," and a female finished the slogan, "maybe it's Maybelline."
The company quickly realized that a female voice would be much more identifiable with their audience, so by 1997 the male voiceover had been swapped out for the sing-song female voice we know today:
While women are soft and trustworthy, male voiceovers are most associated with being neutral, authoritative and factual. Almost half of Americans (48 percent) believe a male voice is more forceful while 46 percent believe a female voice is more soothing. So it all comes back to what message you want to convey in your video, and also who your audience is.
Male Example: Gillette
Similar to Maybelline, Gillette has also used the same slogan for quite a few decades now. To help them sell their razor blades, they have always used a male voiceover for their slogan: "Gillette: The best a man can get!"
As has been established in the video above, and in the Maybelline ads, the best voiceovers are those that resonate with the audience they are trying to appeal to - consumers of makeup are women, consumers of razor blades are men. It's a no-brainer when you think about it this way.
In the same way, it's a great idea, if you're advertising toys, to use a childlike voiceover, just like the one that is used in this classic 90's ad:
How Stereotypes Work In Voiceovers
As much as we all hate to be stereotyped, sometimes, stereotypes work. This is why female voiceovers are mainly used to sell cleaning products, spa days, and makeup. And, on the contrary, male voices are mainly used to sell D.I.Y tools and beer.
However, there are instances when choosing a voiceover for your product aren't that simple. For example, what if you are selling something that everyone will use, like a computer or a car?
Well, studies have found that 28 percent of people of people agreed that a male voice was more likely to sell them a car, compared to seven percent of people that chose a woman's voice.
However, a study published in The Journal of Advertising found that the gender of a voiceover artist was irrelevant for products that were either neutral or aimed primarily at men. In this study, the gender of the voiceover artist only really mattered when it came to female-oriented products.
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Other Factors to Consider
If you do have a gender-neutral brand, then there are other factors to consider when choosing a voiceover.
The tone of your voice-over artist will very much depend on your brand style and the personality you have already presented through your website copy. For example, a funeral director, an investment company, and a bouncy castle rental company will all have very different tones.
If you're aiming your video at people in a certain area, e.g. The North of England or South America, then this point should be pretty self-explanatory -- your voiceover artist's accent should match that of your audience.
However, if you're aiming your product or service at a universal audience, then it all comes down to the connotations of different accents. For example, American accents are usually fun and energetic, whereas British accents are often considered to be more corporate and formal.
Purpose of Video
When you decide what you want your video to achieve this should make it easier for you to pick a voiceover artist.
For example, if you are trying to persuade viewers to buy your product or service, you might want to use an enthusiastic voiceover artist that is very similar to your audience demographic. Or, as suggested in the stat above, if you want to persuade, you may be better choosing a female voiceover.
On the other hand, if you are trying to inform people, you might prefer to choose an older male voiceover to give your video an authoritative feel.
In this article, you've been presented with a lot of facts on male and female voiceovers, but there is still a lot to consider before you choose the right voiceover artist for your brand. It's important to put a lot of thought into finding the right voice for your brand. After all, that voice may represent your brand for years, even decades to come. Think about those ad jingles from the 1980's that still sometimes get stuck in your head.
If your choice isn't as clear-cut as, "men will use this product", or "we're marketing primarily to a female audience", then you just have to find the right voice for you. Do you need someone who is authoritative? Someone who sounds fun? Someone from a certain background?
Tone, personality, and accent can be just as important as gender when it comes to choosing a voiceover artist to represent your brand. For more information, take a look at our recent video about choosing the right voiceover for your video.