Using professional voice talent to meet high (advertising) standards

Posted by Kerry Vallins on January 24, 2018

Working with the right voice talent specialists goes far beyond the tone of voice. Working with an experienced agency can also help you to reach your business goals more quickly – especially as regards your overall content (creation and promotion) strategy – and keep you in line with industry standards.

Take Plusnet, for example, which saw two of its radio advertisements banned by UK trade body the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over what it deemed “unclear and unintelligible terms and conditions relating to the brand’s services.

So, what was the problem? Telecoms provider Plusnet is based in Yorkshire, with the firm using the professional voice talent of ‘Plusnet Joe’ to deliver its campaign materials. Plusnet Joe is actually actor Craig Murray, with the firm using his services to provide a ‘local touch’ thanks to his thick Yorkshire accent. That, though, is where part of the problem lies.

Professional voice talent that knows how to act

Plusnet Joe has been deemed by many to be a shrewd move by Plusnet to set their services apart from the competition in what is a crowded marketplace. The Yorkshire accent is quite a unique one with a certain tone, with Joe’s growth alongside the brand over the years helping him become an integral part of the Plusnet family.

Thumbs-up to Plusnet for keeping their branding consistent throughout their campaigns, commissioning Murray to use his voice talent over the airwaves as well as on TV. In two radio commercials though, ASA deemed Joe to deliver Plusnet’s terms and conditions too quickly, making them hard to understand on top of his thick accent.

That lack of overall clarity makes the adverts misleading according to ASA, meaning those ads can’t be broadcast again and will have to be recommissioned.

Plusnet aren’t the only brand to have fallen foul of ASA over the years. British Telecom (BT) will have seen it as a coup to secure the voice talent of actor Ryan Reynolds to front their radio ads. Again though, ASA found some of BT’s claims misleading in its content in the summer of last year, leading to a ban and shelved advertisements.

Think beyond the vocals when commissioning voice talent

When brands look to commission voice actors to enhance, improve and better deliver their audio content, more often than not they don’t think beyond the vocals or the end product. We feel that the above examples are just two of a much wider problem; that in the desire to rush out an advertisement over radio, Spotify and other streaming services, the creative can be less than watertight.

By that we mean overlooking the high industry standards that have to be adhered to whenever a commercial is commissioned for the airwaves, radio or otherwise. Not only for the benefits of clarity and your overall reputation, but for the sake of pleasing and informing potential customers with the legibility that ASA and bodies in their own respective countries demand.

Working in tandem with the right voice agency can not only provide you with the absolute best in experienced, international voice talent, but they will also work alongside you to advise on industry best practice and polish your audio content to maximize its reach amongst your targeted audience.

Voice Talent Online is able to provide localization QA reviews, post-production audio services, editing, mixing and more as well as casting. Contact us today to find out more.


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