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Male and Female Voices in Commercials: Analysis of Effectiveness, Adequacy for the Product, Attention and Recall

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Abstract

In radio advertising, there is a strong tendency to employ male voices more often than female voices in the belief that male voices sound more convincing. As a result, a gender stereotype is established which would appear to be upheld more by tradition than actual advertising effectiveness. This experimental study analyses the influence of gender on the effectiveness of the voice in terms of adequacy to the product, the ability to attract listeners’ attention and the degree to which voice gender contributes to recall. The objective is to ascertain whether or not the patent infra-use of the female voice is justified. To this end, a gender-balanced sample of 372 students of journalism from Spain was employed. The findings show that when a question is asked about an alleged association with a pre-existing vocal stereotype the answer is consistent with the gender of the voice and the type of product, though this does not occur when the aspects are unrelated, such as voice effectiveness, attention or recall. Accordingly, the supremacy of the male voice over the female voice in radio advertising and the repeated association between voices and types of products is more based on tradition than on alleged advertising effectiveness.

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Rodero, E., Larrea, O. & Vázquez, M. Male and Female Voices in Commercials: Analysis of Effectiveness, Adequacy for the Product, Attention and Recall. Sex Roles 68, 349–362 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-012-0247-y

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