Do you buy into the belief that one should never allow a business owner to do his own commercial? -Ralph M

Great question Ralph. By "to do" I assume you mean "to voice."

Short Answer

We believe in business owners voicing their radio and television commercials. 

But not all owners wish to be the spokesperson, and that's okay. 

But keep in mind the voice-over of an ad is a small part of the success equation. 

The core message of the ad is what makes it work or not. 
The core message of an ad matters much more than the spokesperson who delivers it.

Long Answer 

Let's look at why a business owner should voice their ads.  

  • Predictability is the silent killer of advertising. The business owner's voice is unique. You will never hear their voice on any other ad. An unpolished voice breaks the pattern of station announcers and voice over people. Their ads won't sound professional, polished and smooth, and that's a good thing.
  • Paid voice-over people come and go. The business owner is available for as long as they own the business. Their voice becomes one of the consistent elements of their advertising campaign. 
  • When your strategy is for the client to be more likeable than their competitors, use the client's voice. The ad writer can write client specific ads that show the business owner real. Here's an example ad my business partner Roy H Williams wrote. 
When I was seven years old, I held my father’s head in my hands as he took his last breath and died. A thing like that stays with you. It helps you understand that relationships – people – are what life’s all about. You gotta tell’em you love’em. This is J.R. Dunn. So now you know why I became a jeweler. Fine jewelry is one of the ways we tell people we love’em. When I got older and fell head-over-heals for Ann Marie, the love of my life, I didn’t have enough money to buy her an engagement ring. She married me anyway. Go figure. But I can promise you this: If you’re thinking of getting engaged to the love of your life, come to J.R. Dunn Jewelers in Lighthouse Point. No one in Florida, no one in America, is going to give you a better engagement ring for your money than me. One of the great joys of my life is to make it possible for guys to give the woman they love the diamond she deserves. There was nobody there for me when I needed an engagement ring. But I promise I’ll be there for you.
END OF AD – No location tag – We don’t want to ‘commercialize’ the message.
  • People like to buy from people they like and trust. People like to buy from people with values they share. So when you have a product or service with a degree of fear or high cost, have the business owner if possible voice the ads. Hearing the business owner helps form a bond with potential customers; this works well for Dentists, Real Estate Agents, Home Builders and Jewelers.

When you should not use the owner's voice.

  • The business owner does not want voice their ads. Never force people to do what they don't want to do. 
  • The business owner wants to build the business and cash out in a few years. The business is harder to sell when built on the owner's identity.
  • The business owner comes across as wooden. You have to be upfront and explain their voice may not be exactly what is needed. But have the discussion before the voice-over session, not after.  

Ralph, it may take a little more time in the studio coaching the business owner. But the rewards are well worth the effort.

Craig Arthur, Wizard of Ads Australia


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