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Marketers trying to find the right voice for an advertisement should match the gender of the voice to the ad’s tone, according to a new Adweek Media/Harris Poll.

Neither Gender Sounds More Persuasive
When it comes to overall persuasiveness, advertisers do not have to worry about which gender voice to use. Eighteen percent of overall respondents find a male voice more persuasive and 19% find a female voice more persuasive, with 64% saying it makes no difference. Broken down by gender, 21% of men and 15% of women find a male voice more persuasive, while 20% of men and 18% of women find a female voice more persuasive.

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Male Voices Sound More Forceful
Marketers seeking a forceful ad may want to enlist a male voice. Out of overall respondents, 48% said a male voice sounds more forceful, 2% said a female voice sounds more forceful, and 49% said it makes no difference. Fifty-one percent of men and 46% of women find a male voice more forceful, while 2% of men and 3% of women find a female voice more forceful.

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Female Voices Sound More Soothing
Marketers going for a soothing ad may want to consider using a female voice. Out of overall respondents, 8% said a male voice is more soothing and 46% said a female voice is more soothing, with 46% saying it makes no difference. Five percent of men and 11% of women think a male voice sounds more soothing, 54% of men and 38% of women think a female voice sounds more soothing.

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Male Voices Better for Cars, Computers
Although a majority of respondents have no preference when it comes to whether a male or female voice tries to sell them a car or a computer, those who do have a preference clearly would rather hear a male voice promoting these products.

Sixty-six percent of overall respondents said it makes no difference whether a male or female voice is used to sell them a car, while 28% prefer a male voice and 7% prefer a female voice. Thirty-two percent of men and 23% of women said a male voice would be more likely to sell them a car, and 7% of men and 9% of women said a female voice would be more likely to sell them a car.

Results for ads selling computers were similar. Sixty-nine percent of overall respondents said the gender of the voice in a computer ad would make no difference, with 23% preferring a male voice and 7% preferring a female voice. Twenty-four percent of men and 23% of women said a male voice would be more likely to sell them a computer, and 10% of men and 5% of women said a female voice would be more likely to sell them a computer.

Women Favor Olympics, Men Favor Super Bowl
Marketers may also want to tailor the gender of voice used in TV ads to the gender of the audience watching the programming airing those ads. For example, the TV audience for the Winter Olympics is predominantly female, according to The Nielsen Company.

Through February 21, 2010, an estimated 56% of Olympic viewers were female, while 44% were male. Super Bowl viewership last month was almost the exact opposite, with its audience composed of 54% males and 46% females.

About the Survey: This Adweek Media/Harris Poll was conducted online within the US February 2-4, 2010 among 2,194 adults aged 18 and older. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Where appropriate, this data were also weighted to reflect the composition of the adult online population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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