When one thinks of Britain and the British, images of pomp, chivalry, royalty, tradition, authenticity, and power come to mind. To some, the UK musters romance, dignity and prestige, reminiscent of Jane Austen novels or the strength, bluntness and grit of a book by Charles Dickens. For others, perhaps it's fashion, cosmopolitan airs, trend setting ways, stoicism, and dry wit.
Whatever their reasons, thousands of companies in Canada and the US are strategically hiring voices from across the pond to represent their corporate images, including voiceovers for telephone recordings, broadcast commercials, station imaging, narration, film, character voice over work and more.
North Americans have always had a love affair with the British. Starting in the early days of settlement in the New World and confederation of both the United States of America and Canada, the British have played a major role in the development of the land and establishment of policy, culture, government and education.
A statistic published on January 27th, 2007 in TheGuardian.co.uk states that there are currently 678,000 landed immigrants from Britain living in the United States today. This is merely a conservative estimate and a recent US Census (2000) reports that there are 824,000 former British citizens living in the US, and a fifth of those living in the state of California.
All loyalties aside, another aspect that influences people to hire a British voice talent is that many high profile celebrities in Hollywood are from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. British voices are in the mainstream and in most cases are respected for their perceived intelligence, vocal eloquence and associated with prestige and excellence.
According to their research, industry leader Voices.com is not surprised by the demand British voiceovers enjoy in North America, releasing the following reasons why companies in the United States and Canada hire UK talent.
Corporations hire British talent to:
• Elevate their company status
• Connect with people on an intellectual level
• Give perceived refinement to a product or service
• Tap into the sentimentality of people of British heritage
• Differentiate themselves from standard North American branding
• Present listeners with subtle yet persuasive marketing
Voices.com CEO, David Ciccarelli says, “British voice over talent are a great asset to the North American market. Their voices often convey more than what is on the written page, bringing a special interpretation to a script or project.”
Based in London, Canada, Voices.com provides an online marketplace, facilitating transactions between business clients and voice-over professionals, employing a comprehensive suite of web-based services. Clients that have worked at Voices.com include NBC, ESPN, PBS, The History Channel, Reader's Digest, Comcast, Nortel Networks, Bell Canada, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, ING, Western Union, Ford, GM, Jaguar, US Army, the US Government and more.