Virtually every broadcast advertisement uses the voice of an announcer, but due to lack of guidance from the marketing literature, managers must rely on gut feel when choosing a voice. Drawing on research from psycholinguistics, we identify 3 important voice characteristics - syllable speed, interphrase pausation, and pitch - and link these characteristics to key advertising response variables. By considering these 3 variables simultaneously, we test competing explanations previously offered to explain the process by which speech rate affects consumer response to advertising. Specifically, we assess whether an increase in speech rate enhances or reduces processing of the advertisement and whether this effect is driven primarily by syllable speed or interphrase pausation. Consideration of these 2 aspects of speech rate independently helps identify whether the changes in processing stem from changes in the opportunity to process and/or the motivation to process. Our results show that a voice with faster-than-normal syllable speed and low pitch produces less negative advertisement-directed cognitive responses and more favorable ad attitudes, as well as more favorable brand attitudes, lending support to a motivational process explanation. No significant effects were found for interphrase pausation, suggesting that the results cannot be accounted for by the reduced opportunity to process in the compressed conditions.
Journal of Consumer Psychology
Sprott School of Business

Chattopadhyay, A. (Amitava), Dahl, D.W. (Darren W.), Ritchie, R.J.B, & Shahin, K.N. (Kimary N.). (2003). Hearing Voices: The Impact of Announcer Speech Characteristics on Consumer Response to Broadcast Advertising. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13(3), 198–204. doi:10.1207/S15327663JCP1303_02