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Demand for female voice-over actors growing

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Cody Corrall | The DePaulia

Cody Corrall | The DePaulia

Cody Corrall | The DePaulia

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Even though the glass ceiling has not yet been broken, women are getting there. They won the battle over their right to vote, to obtain high-level positions and to compete with men on the same level. Today, they are actually the ones shaping the market by being the principal consumers. This economic reality influences all industries, especially the advertising one.

“Women drive 70 to 80 percent of all consumer purchasing, through a combination of their buying power and influence. Influence means that even when a woman isn’t paying for something herself, she is often the influence or veto vote behind someone else’s purchase,” says Bridget Brennan, the author of the book “Why she buys?,” in her Forbes column.

According to the latest research conducted by Voices.com, the number of female job postings in the voice-over industry is growing and the trend will continue.

The internal data of the global service linking companies to voice-over professionals shows that over the past five years the number of job postings seeking a female voice over actress increased by 24 percent,whereas the number of postings for men went up by only 16 percent.

The study predicts that by 2025 the demand for female voices will surpass the demand for male. It will happen mainly due to the economic reasons and changes in the modern society.          

Boston Consulting Group data proves this point and estimates that women control $4.3 trillion of the $5.9 trillion in U.S. consumer spending, and  73 percent of household spending. Moreover, it is women who are making consumer decisions for their kids and often buying on behalf of the elder members of the family. Thus, they become multiple markets in one, so to say.

Voices.com Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie Ciccarelli, points out that even smart assistants, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, feature female voices. “The conscious selection of female voices has created a more balanced representation in an industry that directly impacts culture and buying patterns,” she says. “This speaks to who has influence in the marketplace, a combination of the buyers and sellers.”

Another factor for female voice-overs gaining popularity is the rise of peer-to-peer marketing, meaning that the consumer is more likely to buy a product if the commercial he hears is voiced over by someone who sounds like a member of his community. People of different ethnic backgrounds tend to be influenced by ads that are using actors with accents, millennials want to hear a professional voice-over actor who sounds the same age as they are, and women, well, they most likely will be engaged by a woman’s voice.

“People like to hear their contemporaries, they like to hear themselves,” says Eva Bongiovanni, an instructor in public relations and advertising. However this wasn’t always the case; back in the day, people wanted to hear a reassuring male’s voice. But now, Bongiovanni says, women are believable and, moreover, 80 percent of all consumption is done by women.

Notably, the data shows that the female voice-over is becoming more in-demand, not that male voice over is becoming less in-demand. “We are still seeing a growing demand for male voice overs, but at a slower rate than that of females,” says Julianna Lantz, manager of talent sales at Voices.com. 

The results of the survey demonstrate that voice-over is a crucial element of an ad today. 88 percent of the respondents agreed that “even if all the elements of my project come together perfectly, but the voice-over isn’t good, it can prevent me from achieving my intended objectives.”

Nathaly Shammo, a DePaul junior majoring in psychology and a Radio DePaul host, believes that female voice-over professionals have a cadence in their voices that people find personable and trustworthy. However, the “réactance theory” might also take place.

Generally, the reactance theory means that the more you want someone to do one thing, the more likely they will do the opposite. “It’s possible [that when]  people hear more of a demanding tone with male voice-over professionals, they feel less inclined to buy the product that was so abrasively introduced to them,” says Shammo. “They might feel less pressured and more inclined to buy a product if it’s described in a ‘just-like-me’ tone with females.”

The main advice that Bongiovanni has for both aspiring voice-over professionals and commercial casting managers is to keep abreast of trends. “If you want to go in marketing and advertising, you need to know what’s going on,” she says.

Follow the trends and make your target audience believe you and resonate with the voice you use in an ad. “When a woman speaking the same way my mother speaks tells me about a bar of soap, I’m going to trust her and buy that bar of soap,” says Shammo.

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Demand for female voice-over actors growing