From Penelope Cruz to Thierry Henry: how the right foreign accent sells
If you want to give off a certain type of impression in your videos then using a foreign accent is perfect. This is a clever way of adding a touch of sophistication, a down to Earth quality or even a little bit of va va voom when the occasion demands it.
The truth is that you can probably achieve whatever image you are looking for just by using the right foreign accent. This is because when we hear someone English speak a certain way it causes images to jump into your head right away.
Which of the following accents could make your customers see your company in the way that you want to be seen?
The sophisticated and sultry Spanish accent
Of course, with so many different Spanish accents spoken around the world it is no surprise to see that it is possible to achieve different effects with it. There is a world of difference between listening to Shakira, Antonio Banderas and Lionel Messi, for example. They probably all sound slightly different when singing too, I guess.
While local accents and dialects mean that these people all speak Spanish very differently, we tend to hear a seductive, sing-song quality to their English speaking no matter where they are from. Indeed, in many cases the right Spanish voice over actor can give a fantastic mixture of sophistication and sultriness that is perfect for luxury goods like perfume, underwear and jewellery.
If you hear the smooth and sultry tones of Enrique Iglesias or Penelope Cruz then could you seriously resist buying the perfume, coffee or other product that they are showing you? You are a flesh and blood human being, aren’t you?
The informative and friendly Indian accent
The Indian accent is seen as being exotic by many of us, despite it being an instantly recognisable accent that many people in the UK come across regularly. Interestingly, an Australian chocolate bar advert was banned in 2016 for using a “stereotypical Indian accent” in a way that was deemed as being offensive. However, it is a terrific accent for advertising when used right.
For example, the perception of Indians as being very good with new technology means that this is a fine voiceover accent for lending weight and authority in this respect. If you want to show the world that you are cutting edge and modern then this is the right sort of voice to use.
The Indian accent is very useful for giving out lots of information and adding a friendly spark to something that might otherwise seem a bit dull. It is no surprise that mobile phone companies, internet firms and other technology businesses use the lovely Indian accent to liven up their advertising campaigns.
The cool and stylish French accent
“Nicola!” “Papa!” “Nicole!” If your first experience of the French accent was with annoyingly repetitive car adverts then you could be forgiven for thinking that it leads to a lot of saying people’s names, driving around in circles and not much else.
Yet, when used well those velvety Gallic tones in the voice over studio can give an undeniable feeling of quality, coolness and style. If Thierry Henry’s lilting accent doesn’t make you feel as though you need some more joie de vivre in your life then it is time to get a doctor to try and find your pulse.
Either that, or maybe you should loosen up with a glass of good champagne and some foie gras. Even without that helping hand, a soft French accent is ideal for making you feel as though the finer things in life are waiting just round the corner for you.
The harmonious and wise Chinese accent
There is no doubt that the right Chinese accent can add a mystical, exotic feel to any advert. This is commonly used as a way of transmitting ancient wisdom and a feeling of harmony in a natural way.
The soothing Chinese accent is perfect for letting viewers know that you are in touch with nature and have a long history behind you. For example, natural remedies and healthy foods sound so much more enticing when there is a Chinese voice telling us all about it.
Add in some beautiful traditional Chinese music in the background and you have a winning formula that is virtually guaranteed to make people relax.
As we can see, the choice of foreign accent can make a huge difference to the public perception of a company and its products. Therefore, a good starting point is to work out whether you want a sultry, sophisticated Spanish accent, a soothing Chinese accent or something else for your adverts.
Check out our English with foreign accent voice demos here.