If consumers like the sound of something they hear in an ad, are they more likely to buy? Ads are a complex combination of human voice, music, images and words designed to interact with a  listener’s acculturated experiences and influence aspirations. Some ads achieve their goals while others fall flat. Could the success rate of ads be linked to gender bias based on the voice used? Harris Poll recently surveyed consumers on this topic.

On the surface, some consumers say voice makes a difference:

  • Women’s voices are more persuasive: 19%
  • Men’s voices are more persuasive: 18%
  • Makes no difference: 64%

The typical consumer does make definite associations with specific voices. For example, 48% of consumers say a male voice is more forceful. On the other hand, 46% of consumers perceive a female voice to be more soothing.

The poll also queried consumers on the use of voice when it comes to buying two specific products: computers and cars.

For all consumers, the following voiceover would be more likely to sell a car:

  • Male voice 28%
  • Female voice 7%
  • Makes no difference 66%

For all consumers , the  following voiceover would be more likely to sell a computer:

  • Male voice 23%
  • Female voice 7%
  • Makes no difference 69%

In addition, nearly 1 in 3 men say a male voice is more likely to them sell a car while 1 in 4 say the same for a computer purchase. When measuring women’s responses separately, the survey revealed that just under 1 in 4 women say a male voice is more likely to sell them both a car or  a computer. Based on these results, we can expect to see more auto and computer dealers looking to use additional male voices in their ads.

[Source: Are Consumers More Responsive to Male or Female Voices in Advertisements? Harris Interactive. 12 March 2010. Web  15 March 2010]