When a voice talent is working on advertisements for medical products, including the instructions that go with them, your vocal delivery is key. The tone you take as a medical voiceover talent plays a huge role in the way these products and services will land on the ear and resonate with patients and caregivers.
When approaching scripts for these types of materials, you not only need to be compassionate with the listener’s issues and care about their situation and the prospect of finding a solution for them but be confident in the source material and your ability to present it. The tone you come up with needs to demonstrate that you know the product inside and out and still be empathetic in your means of communicating it. So whether it’s a pharmaceutical product, medical device, hospital, or health insurance, and the advertisement or instructions of them, hopefully, this need to know list will steer you down the right path.
Let’s talk about medical or pharma product advertising first.
Medical Voice Over Talent Product Advertisement
When we talk about pharmaceutical health ads (or solutions), we’re also talking about equipment. Also about drug delivery systems and the studies and the facilities that we go to receive care. Places like clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies (and specialty pharmacies) are where the average person will notice that huge daunting list of legal jargon we’ve become familiar with. The ones at the end of a medical advertisement that sound like this product may cause this, if you have this symptom or that symptom consult a healthcare practitioner, and people who have this disease should not take this product, and so on. They’ve not only become something of a staple of daytime television ads but we kind of expect them.
In the voiceover artist world, we call this portion of medical advertisement the legal – because the company is legally obligated to have the information there. They can’t broadcast without it.
You’ll usually have a different tone at the beginning of the ad; say for example, if you’re talking about diabetes. Starting from a place of compassion for the person who is dealing with this annoying and fatal-if-not-treated but otherwise manageable disease, you have to talk about managing blood sugar as a means to better enjoy life, and how this product or glucose monitor may be the device to help you accomplish that. But from the legal forward, the ad becomes very straight, quick-paced, and to the point. To get through the laundry list of possible side effects, warnings, precautions, and contraindications, this part of the commercial usually requires a different tone from the first one. You need to be clear and precise, and smoothly proficient with medical jargon so that it is understandable and yes, memorable. These are things that the medical companies are legally FDA-required to tell you about the device, drug, or solution; they can’t just blindly present their product as all pros and no cons. A solution can’t come without a warning.
Hospital Adverts and Clinic Ads
Now, let’s discuss hospital adverts and clinic ads. These types of information-oriented micro-stories center around the accessibility, level of expertise, and specializations of their people and facilities. It’s about what they’re known for.
Hospitals will regularly employ medical voiceover artists to do the narrations for their patient-facing videos. These ads introduce a patient to a particular hospital or procedure and let them know what kind of care they can expect before and after a treatment or surgery. Often hospital adverts and health system spots use humor or warmth to take the sting out of any tension we may have around healthcare.
Generally, these types of ads are very solution-oriented, but still contain warm tidbits of information.