VORG #30 Jan-Feb-Mar 2000

Changes? Who Me?

I was running a workshop recently, preaching my usual gospel or change, when someone shouted out, “what’s all of this change thing? Maybe advertising changed, but I haven’t.”

My reply:
It’s possible that since you became an adult, (usually considered age 18 or so), you’ve had zero emotional maturing. If that’s so, my condolences. The fact is, change is forever a natural part of human experience. There are also natural changes in generational groups (advertising calls them “cohorts”) and they are now the precise targets of modern advertising messages. You see, American advertisers got strangely stuck in the early 50’s. Why? Because advertising was dominated by major food advertisers who set the rules for mass advertising methods. Manipulation and seduction, exaggeration and over-promise, also known as cookie cutter advertising (“one style ad message fits all”), was the name of the game.

It’s no coincidence that the harshest critiques of advertising appeared in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. Americans had just experiences major wars and that was a radical life altering experience for two generations. Advertising manipulation and seduction no loner reached out to consumers now saavy to the cheap tricks of mass advertising.

And so the change: Advertisers realized that to cut through the increasing ad clutter and the resistance to 50’s style ads, they had to reach out for not just share of mind, but share of heart: messages that create a one-to-one relationship with consumers, cohort by cohort (the age generations) and cluster by cluster (the lifestyle groups).

The new advertiser goal is to develop messages that say “we know who you are, what you care about, what you want out of life. We think we can help you achieve that.” Advertising strategists and writers are developing copy that reflect these changes. Thus a demand for voice over performers who sound less like ad voice clichés and more like real people. Is you voice over work in tune with this one-to-one performance change? Whether single-voice copy or dialogue copy, are you revealing something about who you are in the reading? That self-disclosure willingness attracts advertising producers and directors. They know that the geniuses will evoke the emotional response and consumers.

Are you, as a performer, prepared to take the big change leap, or are you till listening to you own voice? That is, how you say it rather than the story, which is totally focused on who is listening and what is said. If not, there are classes galore in this publication that can help unstuck you and your career. Check them out.

- Dick Orkin, Co-Creative Director, Radio Ranch, Hollywood