impact of covid

They Keep Asking for that Chase Spot

I think I actually know it by heart by know “Your bank could be here, or here.” I hear the words over and over again, and in truth I can’t tell you if it’s because I’ve seen this well placed and clever add so many times on tv or if it’s because it seems to be the go to spec of the summer when I book tv spots. That Chase ad seems to be the trend. I book a spot and the clients sends me this Chase ad and wants me to match it in tone, pace, vibe-basically every way possible. Now, if the script is written in a way that lends itself to that- great. But the catch is that not every script is written to the formula of the Chase script. So let’s look at this formula and talk about what they are asking for in current television commercial voiceovers and what is the current trend during the covid pandemic. And if the client wants this but can’t have it, there are some similar millennial, conversational commercial reads that are out there.

Impact of the Pandemic

Let’s discuss the elephant in the room: why the sudden shift to animation? While everyone is quarantining in place, and stock footage or footage filmed before the pandemic can only go so far, people can create unlimited amounts of new animation. This trend of increasing amounts of animated commercial content will be with us throughout the pandemic. My old friend from home and brilliant award-winning producer Ira Rosensweig has created a product called Crew in a Box  which is “the world’s first plug-and-play, remote production solution,” but until this is more universally adopted or the studios reopen, we are looking at a lot more animation content on television.

Dissecting the Chase Spot

The voice over in the Chase spot is as au currant as it gets. This is the quintessential millennial read. First of all, she (the voice over actor) is talking directly to the viewer. It’s very intimate. She is clear and concise and to the point. She has great energy and she is relatable. As the Chase VO gal explains that when down loading the app “here’s  my bank or here’s my bank” we are right there with her because we feel like we know her. It’s youthful and believable and the ease with which she does demonstrates it all instills us with the confidence that we too can use the app on the go. The upbeat, conversational, relatable, authentic pace is what producers want when they ask for this read. This read draws viewers in. This read helps viewers connect to the voice and more importantly connect to the product.

Recent TV Spot Like the Chase Spot

This month I was sent a television campaign for a retirement community and they wanted the read to be like the Chase spot. The scripts were all well-written and could easily be adapted in tone and cadence. Unlike the Chase commercial, my audience was different. My audience was the children and family members of the retirement community who would choose to place their loved ones in this residence. I needed the same upbeat, relatable, trustworthy tone. I needed to draw folks in and make them feel comfortable and like they knew me. I needed to make them feel like this home was their home. I needed them to trust that their parents would be happy. For me, this message hit home as my beloved grandparents had to live in a place like this when my parents could no longer support their needs, so I understood on every level what I was being asked to convey. Like the Chase spot, because of Covid, this spot is also an animation. Here is one of the four recent commercials I did for this client:

Variations On This Read

Last month I was cast in a TV campaign for a bank in Montana that wanted a different variation on the millennial, conversational read. Even though this was done during the pandemic, these spots used video footage! This producer wanted a sound that fit the video and the music, and it was less upbeat, and more every day real. Sometimes in real life we are not bubbling over with enthusiasm, we just need something that meets our needs, and this is conversational in a different tone. It is more detached and less intimate, casting a broader net. You still trust this voice to be your voice, but the scrip is a different kind of script and it elicits a very different read.

Current Trends in TV Commercial VO Reads

In sum, I am cast in projects because clients still want that very millennial, conversational voice over read. Some reads are more intimate and connected than others. Some reads are more authentic. Some are more personal. Some are to video footage while others are set to animation at present. The trend, though, is to sound conversational and I think always, always believable.