How to Approach Voice Over for Family Friendly Commercials

How to Approach Voice Over for Family Friendly Commercials

Summer time and the living is full of family friendly get-togethers and outings and commercials offering advice on what to do to keep everyone happy and how to save money doing it. To be able to serve Mom, Dad, the kids, Grandma and the clients as well, we as the voice over actors have a few things to keep in mind regarding how to approach these enticing little packets of advertising invitation and fun for all in 30 seconds or less.


Family Friendly Activity Ads


Whether roller coasters or science centers, museums or events, family friendly activity ads seek to entice the gang to come together for some sort of way to spend time and make great memories together. From a voice over perspective the approach can go a couple of ways. Joyous, raucous, good time fun or slightly wry amusement at the antics the gang will get into. It’s a lot easier to stay in the moment with these kinds of spots if you can see the visuals at the same time. For most of us recording remote, that’s not possible and of course, that never happens in radio, so here’s where you get to pull in your imagination and see in your mind’s eye the gang running toward the entrance, pointing upward in awe or getting more ice cream on their faces than in their bellies. Building imaginary visuals makes it real, keeps you in the moment and makes your voice over performance spectacular. Here’s a lively ad I did for the Birmingham Zoo.


Fun in Your own Backyard Commercials


Fun in your own back yard commercials are centered on smaller budget enjoying time together every day time. So, picnics and pools, pup tents and barbeque, playgrounds and slip and slides, even gardening and lawnmowers. These spots roam from the Dad’s Day and Mother’s Day territory through Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. While occasionally high-energy (think slip and slide) commercials in this family friendly realm are often a little more pulled back. Relaxed fun, warm n’ cozy. Obviously the script will reveal which direction to sink into and you’ll bring your own choices to the table. This is a chance to really pull out your storytelling voice over skills.


Voice Over for Family Friendly Destination Vacation Ads


I don’t know about you, but many of the best memories of my life are centered on trips taken and shared with family. We particularly love visiting National & State parks and spots for these wilderness & adventure areas fall in this category. So do some tourist board and airline ads. But mostly this is the domain of the week or two at Disney or the all-inclusive fun-cations at Club Med and other companies or on cruises. Draw on your own experiences (or perhaps the ones you wish you had or want to have) to voice this kind of ad. Sharing relax time, adventure and the delight of discovery with my kids, husband, cousins, siblings and/or parents have been just the best. That’s what to keep in mind when doing voice over for family friendly destination vacation ads. (like this one I did for Club Med)


Voice Over for Family Friendly Retail Commercials


The voice over for successful family friendly retail ads is welcoming, approachable, smart and understanding. You know that $30 in savings this week on bathroom tissue and sundries or that 25% off on back-to-school items will make a big difference to the (one) person you’re talking to. Maybe the difference between having extra money to take the kids out for pizza or maybe the difference between having to put in extra shifts to make ends meet that week or being able to stay home with their kids. I always find the way to make these commercials pop is building back story for the person I’m talking to. A back story I personally care about (or can relate to) and then, sharing the excitement of getting to be the one to help make a difference in their day to day lives. Retail ads encompass everything from groceries and pharmacies to hardware and clothing. Our everyday essentials and little extravagances. Even healthcare – check out my Texas Children’s Hospital Plan ad here:


Voiceovers where the Ad is aimed at Kids


Three kinds of style choices when voicing ads aimed directly at kids are very effective. There’s what I call the camp counsellor or scout leader style. Where you’re rallying the kids together on a fun adventure. You’re a little older than them and you’re in a relaxed position of authority but you talk directly to them and get them pumped for next activity or game you’ve got planned. The second is where you are either one of the kids yourself or you’re playing with the kids. Think toy ads, cereal, snacks and merch based on cartoons and movies. Remember when you were over the top excited and having the time of your life all because of a toy, and Saturday mornings and after school times were the best ever because of that cereal or snack? That’s the direction. The third choice is the character approach. Much the same as animations, these voiceovers where the ad is aimed at kids are driven by character choices as wide as the world. Fairies and princes and zombies and unicorns and dragons and fish. Anything under the sun and stars. This ad I did for the Virginia Air & Space Center combines the energy and rallying call of a family friendly activity ad with the cartoon fun of talking directly to the kids through their “shopping list” of activities.


As well as voicing tons of family friendly commercials myself, I offer voice over performance coaching on commercials, narrations and eLearning. If you ever need either, contact me.


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