10 ways to ruin a radio or TV voiceover

This week we are joined by a new contributor, Abe Udy, principal of Abe’s Audio, one of Australia’s leading sound production studios. As you may have guessed, he’ll be writing about commercial and imaging production.

There are many ways to ruin a perfectly good radio or TV voiceover. Here are just 10. 

1. Cram as many words as you can in to the script. Then add some more. 

2. Include multiple points of contact, ie a website (with all the w’s), phone number and physical address, all at the tail end of the script.

3. Use big, flowery words.

4. If the ad is a ‘slice of life’ scenario, make sure the characters have an unrealistic conversation.

5. Use as many cliches as possible.

6. Make sure the voiceover direction says: ‘Extremely loud, hard sell, irritating read. We want to annoy people!’

7. Follow up the above direction with ‘More shout is more clout.

8. Follow up the follow up point 7 with the direction ‘If you’re not yelling, you’re not selling.’

9. Cast an inappropriate voice. (eg an Austin Powers character for a funeral parlour commercial.)

10. Use daggy, royalty-free production music. (Or any track produced by your brother-in-law on his Casio keyboard last night.)

 I’ll remove my tongue from my cheek now 🙂

If you want to make sure your radio or TV voiceovers stand out and get results, keep your script clear, fresh, simple and on-message. 

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a hard sell yelling voiceover will always convey excitement and drastically increase foot traffic into your store.

(While it can do this, more often than not it just causes people to switch off.)


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