How Voice Over Tone Changed with Covid and what it means for Round 2?!
Commercial and corporate voiceover are the two areas of voiceover that respond quickest to social and cultural trends. When the world we live in changes, it changes rapidly in toney and style to keep in sync with what is happening. Witness the rise of the non-voiceover voiceover read over the past decade as a reflection of the millenial culture of peer to peer and not talking down as in the past. When Covid hit in March this year reads went from a focus on youthful, millennial, friendly to mature, caring and full of depth. At the time humanity was entering unchartered territory and what was required in advertising was a sense of stability. To quote the most used phrases of the time: “Now more than ever”, “We will get through this” because “we are here for one another.”
As the initial lockdown eased and it seemed things were under control, reads started to balance out those strong and stable read, by heading back towards the youthful millennial style. It looked like we were in the clear.
Now, the situation is even worse than in March for most countries in the second wave of lockdown. However there has not necessarily been a rush back to the read style at the height of uncertainty in March. This time, there is a sense that we are not in the same unknown territory as last time. That may be because there are 3 viable vaccines (more on the way surely) with measured success rates of 90% or more. There is a finish line of when we can reset and resume life before the pandemic.
That means that commercial and corporate reads are not jumping back to the stable, caring and strong read style overnight as they did last time. We are still hearing that sense of joy and positivity. That things are getting better. That we are making the most of this. That there is light coming after the dark.
This year in particular has highlighted the need for voice over skill that can shift to demands of the changing market. Voice over that is adaptable to meet the needs of advertising demands as they change to meet a constantly shifting social landscape. Just as reads altered overnight in March, voice over artists must possess that chameleon ability to alter, shift and change in order to provide true value to clients and, ultimately, the public they serve with their voice.
With the current state of play, reads are now likely to sound the bell of the possibility of once again enjoying the liberties and freedoms that have been taken for granted before March. They will be welcome balms to the journey this year has taken us on, and another indication of how voice over follows the market. From youthful and enterprising at the start of the year, to mature and trusting in March onwards, and by year’s end to a combination of the two: hope and optimism for the future.
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Paul Mclaughlin © Versatile Voiceovers