male voice commercial

Research article – Let the man do the talking

Male voices do the trick and make your call-to-action stick

This is the third in a series of new research articles we will publish on our blog. These innovative topics will shed a light on attributes that are expected to be highly decisive for the performance of a TV campaign. Join our econometrists into their research journey and take a glance at the complexity of TV performance measurement.

Effect of male/female voice

In this edition we present another helpful insight about the use of male or female voices in a TV-commercial. The attention for your TV-commercial and the effect of your commercial is seemingly higher than for a commercial message in any other media. Therefore it might be advisable to properly construct you story so its response will be optimal. Since the start of audiovisual commercial messages – for obvious reasons – there has been extensive research in the effect of all kinds audio elements, especially voice. A voice is the ultimate tool to literally tell your story. For TV-commercials there are plenty of visual components at our disposal, for the full experience. The complete package will obviously eventually draw the most attention. But it is mostly the voice that is responsible for the persuasion.

Although science approaches multiple levels of effect from cognitive, affective to conative. Additional research concentrates on different audio elements and settings like, pace, vocal pitch (high or low) and the use of local accents. Most of the scientific research executed gathers its data from public research based on questionnaires among a sample audience. That means most of the results are more or less based on the intention of the proclaimed behaviour rather than the behaviour itself. With some online research on this topic we ended up with very little difference in results. Although respondents tend to ascribe the male voice more persuasive powers and the female voice a more soothing effect.

Male or female voice?

The big question now is, what can 200.000 airings tell us about the effectiveness of the type of voice used. In our project we added two different type of tags to rank audio details in TV-commercials, one concerning male and female voices and a second one about the type of background music. There’s one trade that stands out. If you happen to create a TV commercial for any organisation that operates in tourism, it is very wise to use a male voice.

Tourism commercials stand out in a big way. A male voice-over can add up 27,1% more search traffic compared to the trade average. Common sense would accredit female voices a more tropical appeal and a sense of urgency concerning holidays but the opposite is true. Male voices do the trick and make your call-to-action stick.


In conclusion, to generate more online search traffic, it is advisable to use a male voice. Especially when you operate in tourism. Of course not all campaigns are intended to generate online search volumes and more complicated messages probably benefit from softer female voices. But on average, let the man do the talking.

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