Unhappy+listenerSo today this story broke. It’s a sneery tale of how ‘consumer pressure’ has forced a leading supermarket to ditch the voiceover at their automated tills…because people find her voice “irritating.”


When you’re hurriedly packing your shopping stressing over wayward bags, maximising your Clubcard points, your expired money-off vouchers and the hairy-arsed guy behind you who seems to have bought nothing but corned beef, are you honestly going to find ANY voice pleasant to listen to? And to be honest, isn’t it the software that activates the voice that’s annoying??

You know, just saying…

I’ve just been on BBC5Live discussing this very point but thanks to something amazing happening in a cricket match, they had to cut me short. Afterwards I was chatting about this story with a producer chum.

He took a languid drag on his ‘cigarette.’

“To be fair, if people find your voice annoying it probably means you’ve done your job right. I mean, they noticed you, right? Isn’t that the point of what we do in the audio industry? Get people to listen, get them to take notice? Show me one person who enjoys listening to sung jingles and I’ll show you a ****ing weirdo,” he said. “But I bet they remember the tune.”

Depressing…but probably true.

I also wonder if the media would ever describe a male voice as “irritating” or “annoying.” There’s more than a whiff of sexism about this story. And what if the voiceover was directed by the client to sound more assertive than friendly?

All in all, a slippery story that’s (probably) been mangled by the media.

(BTW,don’t use the term ‘irritating’ to search for images. It’ll seriously put you off your granola).


    David a Brown

    I’d say it’s bugger-all to do with ‘her’ voice, but rather more to do with what it is you’re being told what to do.
    And in reply to the 5-Live guy, I think there’s a little more to it than he suggests. There’s a voice-over we use a lot; he’s a lovely bloke, he reads things well, and I’ve never received a complaint from anyone about his voice – but there’s always been something about his voice I’ m not keen on. Nothing wrong, just something I found annoying, and it wasn’t until a few years ago I realised what it was – he sounds like me. Quite a lot like me, and that explains it I reckon – no-one (no-one normal anyway) likes the sound of their own voice!

    July 30, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    When we watch television or listen to the radio voice over often will hear with an advertisement in between the programs about a product or services done is a special voice. All most ads are really presented in order to give feeling of someone’s speaking to another person. So your posting will great work for me. Thanks for sharing.

    April 19, 2016 at 7:57 am

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