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Developing a brand involves consideration of many seemingly minute but vital details. Likewise, audio branding is so much more than jingles and soundbites. The overall sound of your brand will convey your message, intentions, and values to your audience. It needs to be cohesive throughout each encounter that a potential customer or client has with your brand. Therefore, the voice actors in your podcasts, videos, and advertising need to truly reflect your brand. Is a deep voice actor right for your brand?
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This post was updated in June 2021
What do deep voice actors tell us about a brand?
Deep voice actors are surprisingly versatile. Depending on gender and tone, deep voice actors can bring very different meanings to brand messages. Many famous deep voice actors have easily identifiable voices and familiarity leads to trust. Although, I just found out that Ving Rhames, not James Earl Jones, is the voice of Arby’s. My mind is blown!
Think about some of the most famous campaigns that have used deep voice actors to represent their brands. Visa chose Morgan Freeman to be their voice. L’Oreal recently named Viola Davis as a brand ambassador. Jeff Bridges was the deep voice behind Duracell’s “Trusted Everywhere” campaign and, as some of us just found out, Ving Rhames lets Arby’s customers know that they’ve got the meat. But beyond the celebrity and familiarity, what about these voices draws us in?
Strength, Competence, Trust, and Size?
The Poli Sci department at the University of Miami recently joined forces with the Biology department at Duke to study the effect that a political candidate’s voice has on voters. As you might expect, candidates with deeper voices are more appealing to the average voter, but why, exactly?
A similar study conducted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Psychology and Brain and Mind Institute along with the National University of Singapore’s Graduate School for Integrated Sciences and Engineering found that through the ear, the mind perceives older and deeper, particularly male, voices to be more trustworthy.
It may be hard to believe that our minds are susceptible to such narrow judgments. Now, we all want to believe that we are open-minded and not so judgmental. Do we really assess a person’s trustworthiness solely on the pitch of their voice? Undeniably, these subconsciously derived assumptions are repeated in numerous studies. Also, they go beyond the perception of the individual to the product.
Researchers at Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech released the findings of their study, Sounds Big: The Effects of Acoustic Pitch on Product Perceptions. During the course of the study participants repeatedly indicated that everything, from sandwiches to electronics, was perceived as larger when paired with a low pitch voice or music.
Is a Deep Voice Actor Right for Your brand?
Subliminally, a deep voice registers in the brain as more trustworthy, competent, stronger, and representative of a larger product. So, by all accounts, it can be assumed that any brand wants the perception of being more trustworthy. However, you should consider the following before settling on the pitch that best suits your brand:
- Who is your target audience? – The identity of your target audience will tell you if a deep voice actor will suitably represent your brand. Is your target audience 13-year old girls interested in floral design? A James Earl Jones-esque voiceover may not fly.
- What is their need? For instance, are they looking for reliable auto repair services? Insurance? Healthcare? Any product that requires a significant financial investment or fulfills a need based on necessity or safety.
- What emotions will you evoke in your audience? Confident? Inspired? Fear? Certain products, like health insurance, funeral services, or legal assistance, might cause anxiety in an audience. However, a strong, confident, deep voice actor’s narration can quell these negative feelings and inspire confidence.
Examples of Successful Audio Branding Using Deep Voice Actors
God of War Video Games
This video game series is based on the complex tales of mythological characters. One such character is Kratos, the Greek personified spirit of the attributes of strength, power, and might. Two deep voice actors have done the voiceover for this extraordinary character, Christopher Judge and Terrence C. Carson. Additionally, the late Michael Clarke Duncan, best known for his pivotal role in The Green Mile, was the voice for the game’s Athens character. The God of War games are examples of where deep voice actors perfectly emulate the voice of a brand.
Arby’s “We’ve Got the Meats” Commercials
In 2014 Arby’s was suffering from a brand identity crisis. With a steadily declining following and revenues dropping $150,000 per restaurant, it was time for courageous rebranding. The company needed to capitalize on what differentiated it from other QSR outlets.
Up until this point, Arby’s was viewed as an old folk’s place. Somewhere you may only go on a Sunday afternoon with your Nana. They needed to change this perception and knew that “The Meat” was what separated them from the pack.
Aided by the deep voice of Ving Rhames, the brand reintroduced itself with the tagline, “We’ve Got the Meats.”
The meat-laden sandwiches and deep voiceover spoke to value and large portions, attracting a younger market.
“Are You In Good Hands?” – Allstate
Allstate Insurance has been using the tagline, “You’re in good hands,” since the 1950s. But, somehow, most of us reading those words, can only hear the voice of their spokesman Dennis Haysbert.
The tagline and the company logo of two hands intertwined along with the smooth, deep, comforting voice of Mr. Haysbert create immaculate cohesion of audio and visual branding. Let’s face it, buying insurance and needing to file claims are not typically warm, fuzzy experiences. The voice of the brand needs to be confident, comforting, and reassuring. They’ve nailed it in both audio and visual phases of their branding.
Si Eau de Parfum by Giorgio Armani
At fifty-years-old, Cate Blanchett is hardly heading out to pasture. In this extended version commercial for Giorgio Armani’s Si, Ms. Blanchett is a stunning example that deep voice actors can say a lot with very few words. In this campaign, an older than your average supermodel woman is living her best life. She is oozing sexuality, strength, and rock-on-sister style confidence. The visuals, the tagline, and the voice are all at once sexy, smart, and independent. She is who all us gals want to be!
“Sorry, Coke and Pepsi” – Soda Stream
The brilliance of this SodaStream commercial starring Scarlett Johannson is in the multi-layered messaging. At first, we see the actor confidently, with a touch of sarcasm, demonstrating the SodaStream. In a satirical twist, playing to the idea that sex sells, the camera pans. Suddenly, the actress drops her robe revealing a sexy cocktail dress. She seductively overacts, cooing the tagline, “Sorry, Coke and Pepsi.” While mocking the very idea that sex appeal gets attention, the husky-voiced star is undeniably sexy nonetheless!
Whether it’s confidence, trustworthiness, or size that you want to convey, a deep voice can deliver. The previous examples show deep voice actors express several different messages simultaneously, even with a touch of satire.
Bunny Studio has the voiceover talent to help bring your audio branding to the next level. If you are in the market for the perfect deep voice actor to narrate an online video or commercial, or even a voice more quirky and fun, we have over 28000 voice actors ready to bring their talents to your next project.
Contact us today and our team of experts will help you find the perfect voice for your brand.