Marketing Voice-over: Usage & Talent Considerations

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We’ve covered some great tips and advice about casting the best voice-over artist for your commercial; however, there are some things you should be familiar with before starting your project such as differences in usage (is your video a standard marketing video or a commercial?) and union vs non-union talent.

In this blog we will cover these topics.

[Average read time: 3 minutes]

man writing on paper

photo by Scott Graham

Usage: Marketing Video vs Spot

One key element to keep in mind for your marketing projects is the difference between standard marketing videos and commercial spots as well as the usage of each.

Marketing videos: these are videos that showcase a company’s products and services and do not have a standard length–they can run from a few seconds to ten minutes or longer. These videos are to improve sales but can also act as instructional videos to help customers become familiar with how to use a product or service.

Commercial spots: short segments, typically 15, 30, or 60 seconds in duration that also showcase a company’s product or service but with the primary purpose to increase sales and shared with potential clients through paid advertising.

The usage for the two types of videos above generally differ: marketing videos can be stand-alone videos that appear on the company website or official YouTube page–for instance a series of tutorial videos on a new line of products. Commercial spots, on the other hand, generally appear as a quick spot between television or radio programming as well as pre-roll before a YouTube or Facebook video. Commercial spots can also pop up on social media platforms as sponsored content and are meant to grab the user’s attention. Marketing videos in comparison typically require the user to voluntarily click on the video to watch.

Because of the difference in usage, commercial spots generally have a higher budget than a standard marketing video. Depending on whether you decide on union or non-union with either type of voice-over will also have an impact on your budget (with union rates being generally higher).

woman browsing on the internet

photo by  Annie Spratt

Union vs Non-Union: What’s the Difference?

When hiring a voice-over artist, one of the first key considerations is whether to hire union or non-union voice actors. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Union commercial voice-over actors in the U.S. are part of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists). SAG-AFTRA charges their members an annual membership fee and promises their members higher pay rates, pension, legal protection, and a number of other benefits that a non-union actor would not be able to receive. In order to receive these benefits, the union actor promises to pay dues, not take any non-union work, and adhere to all union guidelines. Here are some key things to know:

  • SAG signatory: in order to hire union talent and process payments, a SAG signatory—a company that has agreed to adhere to SAG-AFTRA rules—will need to be attached to the project.
  • Higher pay rate: union actors on average cost significantly more than non-union actors (as much as 20% or more) in order to pay for the benefits they receive.
  • Bureaucracy: the project will need to be registered with the union and paperwork submitted  to certify that union working standards and guidelines (pay rates, break and lunch times, over-time fees, etc…) are met.

Despite the paperwork and higher costs, some companies unionize their commercial projects so that they have access to the union talent pool. Non-union projects are unable to hire union voice actors, though being non-union does have a number of advantages for companies:

  • Lower costs: costs for non-union projects are significantly lower than union projects due to the flexibility for companies to establish their own pay rates and working guidelines.
  • Qualified non-union actors: the voice acting market has been booming and there are plenty of new as well as seasoned non-union voice actors that work as independent contractors.

people sitting on chair in front of table while holding pens during daytime

photo by Dylan Gillis

In Summary

As you can see from the above, it’s important to determine whether you video is a standard marketing video or a commercial spot, and from there decide if you’d like your project to be union or non-union.

These considerations will help you with your casting and also how you’d like to use the video within your company’s bigger marketing strategy.

We wish your marketing project all the best! If you need help casting talent for your upcoming  project, contact us today for a free quote by clicking the button below:

To request information or a free quote, contact JBI Studios today.