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The impact of accents on advertising

In the UK we have a variety of different accents and dialects within our English language. Many of these accents carry certain stereotypes with them. Whether or not there is any truth behind any of these stereotypes the advertising industry certainly uses our preconceptions to their advantage.

At one point the only English accent that could be found in the media and advertising was Received Pronunciation (RP). Also known as the Queen’s English, RP is a stately and eloquent way of speaking. It’s associated with the upper classes and carries prestige in certain areas of the UK, particularly the south and London.

However, businesses are now more aware of the fact that certain accents have certain connotations. For example, in the 1990’s, Boddington’s Bitter ran an advertising campaign that challenged our preconceptions.

The advert used the glamour and mystery of a perfume advert, but it turned out the gorgeous model was advertising bitter and had a strong Mancunian accent. The Mancunian accent is often seen as being industrious or creative whilst being warm and welcoming.

The Yorkshire accent is often seen as wise, trustworthy, honest and straightforward; these are all characteristics that consumers would like to see in a business if they were to purchase a product or service from them.

Recently the broadband provider Plusnet used actors with strong Yorkshire accents to advertise their services. The advert certainly stuck in my head for two reasons: because the accent was different to my own and it was not the usual RP accent used by the media.

It’s not only the advertising industry that makes use of different accents and dialects; companies with call centres tend to locate them strategically to convey a certain message.

There are several companies that have contact centres based in Newcastle upon Tyne as the Geordie accent is associated with warmth, genuineness, friendliness and understanding. These qualities are exactly what you need in a customer service role, whether they are real or perceived qualities.

So how can an accent help your business? Get in touch with us today and let us know what you want to say and we can advise on the best voice for your brand. From IVR and on-hold messaging, to national TV campaigns, an accent can amplify your brand’s message! You can also direct the session via Skype or Zoom.