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Commercial Voiceover Styles: The Symphony of Selling

By Alan Shires. Published Aug 22, 2023. Last Updated: Aug 23, 2023.
Filed Under: Commercials

Navigating through the world of commercial voiceovers can feel much like traversing through a maze—each turn reveals new surprises. From the assertive tones that demand your attention to the gentle whispers drawing you into a world of luxury, the industry is brimming with diverse voices, each tailored to specific audiences and purposes. Like exploring a vast and vibrant wardrobe, commercial voiceovers offer a myriad of styles that open up a realm of possibilities. Here, we will delve into the intricacies of commercial voiceover styles and how they cater to different avenues of commercials.

What Is a Commercial - the Hard vs. Soft Sell

On one end of the spectrum, there's the hard sell. The kind of voice that grabs your attention while you’re idly channel surfing. It’s loud, insistent, and all about creating urgency. Phrases like "BUY NOW! While stocks last!" echo the sentiments of this style. It's comparable to an espresso shot; potent, brief, and memorable. Often found in infomercials and clearance sales.

Contrastingly, there's the soft sell. This voiceover style is more like a gentle nudge than a push. It's subtle and makes you feel like you’re having a casual conversation with a friend over coffee. It doesn’t scream, it suggests. It doesn’t push, it persuades. Perfect for luxury brands and heartfelt campaigns.

Commercial Sub-Genres Conversational Tones & Character Voices

The conversational tone is a breath of fresh air. Relatable and approachable, it’s like chatting with an old friend. It questions, "Hey, ever felt this way?" and empathizes with you, making commercials feel more personal and engaging. This style thrives in tech or service-oriented ads where the aim is to make a personal connection. In fact, this is one of the most common styles in the modern day.

On a more whimsical note, the character voices spring products to life. From animated toasters to talking animals, these voices are all about entertaining while selling. They're the clowns of the commercial circus, especially appealing for children’s products or brands that have a mascot to flaunt.

Commercial Styles: Commonalities & Differences

When you want to lend gravitas, you turn to the authoritative voice. This style is commanding, reliable, and exudes confidence. Imagine a seasoned professor explaining a complex concept; that's the aura of the authoritative voice. It is used predominantly for technical products or items endorsed by experts, it ensures the message is delivered with weight and credibility.

In the grand tapestry of commercial voiceovers, there are shared threads that bind these styles together. Primarily, each voiceover aims to connect with its audience. Whether through urgency, camaraderie, humor, or trust, the mission is to form a bond. However, the differentiation lies in the emotions they intend to provoke. A hard sell thrives on urgency, while a soft sell is all about evoking desire. Character voices lean towards amusement, whereas authoritative ones focus on garnering trust.

Commercial Voiceover Styles

Adding a dash of humor can turn an ad from mundane to memorable. Whether delivered in a conversational or character style, humor can amplify a message's impact. Yet, striking a balance is pivotal. An ill-timed joke can backfire, especially in serious contexts. So, while humor is the ad world's magic wand, it must be wielded wisely.

Navigating the myriad styles of commercial voiceovers is akin to appreciating different music genres; each has its charm, audience, and occasion. They shape the narrative, elevate the brand, and create resonating connections. As you tune into commercials, take a moment to acknowledge the craftsmanship behind the voices. After all, they're engineered to speak to you, and if executed aptly, they might just strike the perfect chord.

Commercial Voiceover Styles: The Symphony of Selling by Alan Shires

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