The 5 best accents to use for your VO projects in the US

2 min read

Accents are something marketers overlook surprisingly frequently, yet it can impact the effectiveness of your voice over projects quite heavily. The choice of accent really does matter.

Why?

Because you want your audience to connect with your story, feel intrigued by the novelty of your characters, or take your message seriously. They certainly will if they can relate to what is being said and trust the voice of the voice actor.

Here is a look at some accents that are likely to resonate with your audience when you use them in your voice over projects.

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1. Southern Accent: research shows it’s persuasive

A recent Moneypenny survey of U.S. consumers found that the Southern accent was most effective in convincing people to buy something. The perception is that the Southern accent is friendly and pleasing to the ear. If you’re a corporate brand using storytelling to promote a product/service, strike a chord with your audience!

2. British Accent: voted second most attractive accent

Image of British flags hanging across a street in London
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Survey respondents also cited the British accent as attractive enough for them to try a product. Across all generations surveyed, the British accent was voted as being more appealing than the French accent.

Similarly, nearly 38% of Gen Z consumers said that they had changed their digital assistant to a British voice. They also regard it to be the most friendly accent — on par with the Southern accent.

The British accent is also popular for novelty voice over projects like birthday messages in the U.S., Australia and the UAE.

Films like the Harry Potter series and British TV shows such as Downtown Abbey have been major drivers of this accent’s popularity. Increasing sales of audiobooks have been attributed to recordings by the likes of Kate Winslet, Colin Firth, and Stephen Fry.

3. Australian Accent: there’s a growing preference for this accent

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A 2017 survey on hiring trends in voice over accents, dialects and languages, points to an increase in demand for an Australian accent. English is the preferred language for voice over projects, although French, Italian and Japanese are the top three fastest growing languages.

The Australian accent sounds the same in different regions. Class, rather than geography, dictates differences in the Australian accent.

A majority of Australian English speakers use what is known as the ‘general accent’. The other variation, the ‘broad accent’, the stereotypical Aussie ocker accent. The American accent has had minimal influence on the Australian accent. More details here.

4. Spanish/Latin American Accent: Still holding strong

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There’s a growing demand for Spanish and Latin American accents in voice over projects. Depending on the nature of your project or localization needs, you may want to hire voice actors who sound really convincing. Consider these factors when hiring for voice over work requiring a Latin American accent:

  • Spanish tends to take longer to say the same thingthan English; A 60 second commercial in English would be equivalent to a 75 second commercial in Spanish.
  • Whether your project is hyper-targeted to an audience or intended to serve a general or broad audience, use the right Spanish accent and adapt your script accordingly.

5. French-Canadian Accent: A growth in demand for this accent

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There are a few but noticeable differences in pronunciation between Metropolitan/Standard European French and Québec French. Québec French speakers use the second person pronoun tu more often than Metropolitan French speakers, who may think such a reference is impolite. Québec French vocabulary borrows several English words, which are easily detectable in day-to-day conversations.

Accents under greater scrutiny

Critiquing accents of famous movie actors has emerged as a paying job. Millions tune in to watch or hear voice coaches evaluate the proficiency with which actors have pulled off accents that aren’t their own. The important of nailing the accent becomes pivotal when portraying a non-fictional character. Consequently, a consistent accent also injects a big dose of realism into fictional characters, making them appear more real.

If you’re looking to convey a consistent brand voice, a uniform accent for your voice over project can help increase brand recall. On the other hand, for creative story-telling VO projects, a variety of accents may be more interesting and attract attention quickly.

Above all, make your voice over projects fun to listen to. We wish you every success!

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