The 2020 election cycle has seen record ad spending as candidates vie for the attention of voters who have spent the last six months home consuming content on every device imaginable. But even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Democratic primary was the most expensive in history, with $1 billion in campaign media spend.
Is all that political ad money being well spent? Only if it reaches the ever-changing American electorate. If candidates want to appeal to a diverse group of voters, they need to use authentic voiceovers in their ads. That’s why we launched Blue Wave Voiceover in January, a collective of Democratic and progressive voiceover talents who look and sound like America in 2020. And, why we joined ProductionHub - to meet other professionals in the political media production chain.
We are diverse, full-time voiceover artists working from state-of-the-art home recording studios, with microphones from brands like Sennheiser and Neumann and sound isolation booths like the StudioBricks One and OnePlus, and Whisper Rooms. Every day we connect to studios and production facilities around the world using remote connectivity options like SourceConnect, ISDN, ipDTL, Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, or a good, ol’ fashioned analog phone patch.
Because the political advertising and news cycle moves so quickly, we made broadcast-quality home studios a requirement. We’re ready to turn spots around at a moment’s notice. It’s not uncommon to get a request at the end of the day on Friday so it can traffic over the weekend. It made us unbelievably well-positioned to continue working uninterrupted through the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve always known that acting isn’t a 9-5 job.
Authentic Voiceover Makes a Difference
We set out to find a group of full-time voiceover talents willing to commit to voicing only for Democratic and progressive candidates and ballot issues. In cycles past, it wasn't uncommon to find voice talents feeling a bit "purple" every November - actively voicing for candidates and issues on both sides of the aisle. It was just a faceless job, after all. If you voiced a spot for something that wasn't aligned with your personal values, you could always send some cash to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood to assuage your guilt. But, something about this election cycle felt different.
That’s why Blue Wave Voiceover founder Maria Pendolino joined up with 20 other voice talents to launch Blue Wave Voiceover. At a time when #RepresentationMatters is a focus in Hollywood and across the media landscape, this is not art imitating life: this is a combination of political art, passion and a collective force for change. And that’s why you won’t hear us sounding like generic old-fashioned “announcers.” We’re voters, too.
How the Electorate is Changing
“Conventional wisdom” about elections seemed to go out the window in 2016 - and the 2020 election season is likely to be another historic one. Effective political ads need to reach voters where they’re at, on whatever device they’re using.
Millennial and Gen-Z Voters
According to the Brookings Institution, more than half of Americans (166 million people) are millennials or younger. This equates to 50.7% of the nation’s population, which is larger than the 162 million Americans who are part of Gen X, baby boomer, and older groups. A winning candidate can’t afford to ignore the younger generations.
So, we set out to include younger talents and built a page dedicated to millennial and Gen-Z voiceover artists, so that it’s easy for campaigns and organizations to find the right young person quickly.
U.S. Voter Diversity
Candidates need ads that will appeal to varied age groups as well as backgrounds. While white candidates still dominate many elections, the U.S. is now just 60% white. Moreover, it’s estimated that by 2050, white Americans will make up less than half of the population (this is already the case in Hawaii, New Mexico, California, Texas and Nevada).
2020 will also be the first year in which Hispanics make up America’s largest minority group. This year, a projected 32 million Latinos will be eligible to vote. To put it very simply, you can’t just pick an old white guy to voice all of your political ads: you need someone who can authentically represent their community.
Savvy candidates and campaign advertisers also create spots in Spanish as well as English. 13.5% of Americans speak Spanish, which amounts to around 41 million people. Even though many of these voters are bilingual, English-only ads simply won’t reach everyone. So, we added political voiceover artists at Blue Wave Voiceover who are fully bilingual in English and Spanish. They can also provide specific dialects or accents and can offer translation services so you aren’t left with a Google Translate gaffe in your copy. Today’s voters want something real. It’s really not so hard to make that happen.
Of course, Black voters are also important in the 2020 election. 41.4 million Americans identify as African-American, which represents 12% of the total U.S. population. Black voters were hugely important in Joe Biden’s Democratic primary victory; Biden won 63% of black voters in Virginia, 72% in Alabama, and about 60% in Texas and North Carolina, based on exit polling.
That’s why Blue Wave Voiceover features African American voice talents who have regularly done work for the Democratic Party as well as national brands such as McDonalds, Spotify and Dreamworks, among countless others.
The Home Stretch
The last few weeks before the election are going to be interesting. Whatever content you’re consuming, a political commercial will probably be every other spot. If you live in a battleground state, you could be seeing commercial breaks that are solidly political.
And, if you need voiceovers for political advertising - or if you need a voiceover for any other production project like commercials, promos, narration or explainer videos - we’d be delighted if you’d stop by Blue Wave Voiceover to meet our diverse group of talented voice actors.