A recent survey showed that when sounding forceful, over 95% responded that a male was more forceful or male/female made no difference but the most trustworthy voice is a high-pitched female voice (incidentally, lowest-pitch male voices are least trustworthy). So depending on what you’re aiming for, the gender of the voice can have a subconscious impact.
If you’re selling a service that relies on trust and comfort, then hiring a female voiceover artist may be the way to go. Whereas if you’re looking for something that needs force, it’s safer to choose a male speaker.
But there are specific situations and scripts that should have different voices. Appropriateness plays a critical role as well. If you’re selling feminine products, it wouldn’t make sense for a male to do a voiceover. Likewise, if your service is marketing something that is predominantly male it just makes sense to use a male voice.
And if the script is describing a girls’ night out at the movies, it just makes sense to accompany that with an appropriate female’s voice. The only exception to this rule, and this can be a great technique if used correctly, is when you want to have something that is purposely incongruent – for shock value or comedic effect. This can actually make more people tune in and listen and your commercial can be more memorable.
What about when it comes to gender neutral products, as many companies tend to sell? Well, the good news is that survey results are pretty evenly split. Most indicate that neither male or female voices are more persuasive. So when it comes down to it, what matters is having a strong script, professional voice and the product to back it up.