OK, trick question.
In today’s culture, there’s none. The best VO in a political commercial comes via its drama and delivery, and nowadays, gender is a non-factor. What is, is believing what the voice artist is saying. And more importantly, whether he or she is making the greatest impact with the copy they’re given.
“Rob Blackwood isn’t just wrong about state healthcare. He’s DEAD wrong. His budget slashing has spiked Georgia’s infectious disease death rate since its passage three long years ago.”
Imagine a man’s performance.
You’re probably going to go for an older, textured voice that relates to the kinds of patients who are most in danger. He’ll be coached to slow down a bit, lean in to give the words a little more weight and to let us feel not only the truth in his words, but the danger in the message.
Now imagine a woman’s voice instead.
Perhaps a bit younger, say late 40’s or early 50’s. With a hint of smokiness in her sound but more importantly, an authoritarian tone in her approach. She’ll telegraph that potential for disaster because she’s obviously an expert in the field and is imparting an important warning we shouldn’t miss.
Whom do you choose when it’s your choice as a creative to make? The one your focus group or co-creators believe will make the greatest impact. And the more difficult the choice… the better off you are. Because in the end, you’ll be working with VO pros who are good enough to give you pause and tempt you to test the results in different markets, which you really can’t do in political advertising. Which makes your choice all the more personal!
So arm yourself with a selection of great talent. Be open to finding new voices that may become part of your campaign’s brand — voices that haven’t necessarily been heard on dozens of other spots. And by all means, give your talent some room to find his or her expressiveness in the booth with a few different approaches, including a couple of recorded passes that are self-directed.
Your goal is to make a lasting impact that convinces the listener to go your way, and fortunately, we’re a LONG way from the days of simply depending on men alone to voice the kind of authority that can sway a vote.