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Business of VO – Millennials

Memes. Snapchat. Avocado Toast. The advertising industry trends are changing and maybe for the better. Anne and Gabby share some perspectives about the trends they’re seeing come from millennial clients and talent. What approach should you take with your millennial clients and how should you really interpret that “millennial” direction on your copy? Listen to find out!


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Study up on the coming trends and make sure your business evolves with them.

  2. Millennial clients tend to appreciate the artistry of voiceover more than non-millennials.

  3. Millennials prefer spending their money on experiences rather than stuff.

  4. Millennial style reads aren’t about not caring. They’re looking for authenticity and intimacy.

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Referenced in this Episode

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  2. Our podcast is recorded entirely using ipDTL. Get better than ISDN quality with: ipDTL!

Full Episode Transcript

VO: Today voiceover talent is more than just a pretty voice. Today’s voiceover talent has to be a boss. A VO BOSS Set yourself up with business owner’s strategies and success. With your host, Anne Ganguzza. Along with some of the strongest voices in our industry. Rock your business. Like a boss. A VO BOSS

Anne: Welcome, Everybody, to the VO BOSS Podcast, I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with my lovely, wonderful co-host, Gabby Nistico. Hey, Gabby.

Gabby: Hello!

Anne: Gabby, today we’re gonna talk about something that confuses some people.

Gabby: I know.

Anne: Sometimes angers other people. And…

Gabby: And for some people it’s like a unicorn. It’s like are they real? Are they not real? It’s…

Anne: Are they real?

Anne: Are they?

Gabby: Are they?

Anne: We’re gonna talk about millennials. And how to work in the new, I don’t know, millennial age, I should say. Work with millennials, work for millennials, there’s a lot of things to talk about. As a non-millennial, Gabby, I’m a little older than a millennial. I have to make some adjustments. I have to start to think how millennials are thinking, because they might be my bosses.

Gabby: I feel like I’m, you know, millennial adjacent. They’re the generation right below mine. I don’t know, every generation goes through the “oh, you stinkin’ kids and your this and that, and your–

Anne: “When I was your age…” Gabby:–“loud music, and your [inaudible]” Everybody does that. Everyone’s done that throughout the years. I mean, every generation goes through that phase. But, I think, a lot of things have kind of happened with the millennials that doesn’t make sense to people. And they largely, I feel like, get a bad rap. Which I think is kind of ridiculous, and, I don’t know. I just think this is a fun topic to explore and for us to kind of look at it. What does it mean if you’re working for one? And certainly if they’re your client, because, hey, guess what, haHA a lot of them are. Right?

Anne: Exactly. Exactly.

Gabby: And also, what does it mean if you are a voice actor who falls into the millennial category, and/or you found our self working with other voice actors who are millennials. I think these are really important things to know for the direction that our industry is headed, and how it effects our businesses.

Anne: Alright, Gabby, so, I have actually seen–I guess I’m gonna start off with, I think what a lot of us might encounter, number one, is that I’ve seen a lot of specs that have come out asking for–

Gabby: Yass! Anne:–the millennial voice. Or the, you know,–and so, what exactly does that mean? And I have really kind of think about that because the voice that I hear in my head, that sounds like something I would hear on the radio, or something I would hear on a commercial, is a very different sound than today’s millennial. And what it means for today’s millennial, because our environments are different. Our–we’re living in a different world where millennial–there’s a lot of things going on. There’s you know, the digital age.

Gabby: There is. And people need to also realize there’s two categories of millennial, which is really kind of crazy. A lot of clients will refer to either a younger millennial or an old millennial in their copy and in their spec descriptions. So, that, in of its self, is kind of crazy. An older millennial is gonna be someone potentially with kids, someone who’s married. You know, they’re probably in their late 20s, early 30s, whereas a younger millennial could be a teenager. They’re getting such a bad rap and I hate that. I love my millennials. I work with a bunch of them. I’ve hired a bunch of them. Right? They encompass my staff. These guys keep me current. They keep me–

Anne: Yeah, me too. Gabby:–topical. They keep me technologically advanced, I mean, what’s not to love about that? So, we kinda have to get out of our heads, and some of our own, I don’t know, maybe misconceptions about them?

Anne: Oh, very much agreed.

Gabby: Yeah!

Anne: And a lot of it is because of the environment that they are in. And a lot of that is today’s world of so much technology, and so many things going on at once, that they are simply in that world already. And it’s something that, let’s say, you or I, well me especially, because I’m an older, older, older millennial. [Both laughing] Way old millennial. I am the person who has, you know, come up through the years and adjusted to the digital revolution, I should call it, or the digital age, and I’m a little bit more, I guess, technologically, I would say, pro-technology than a lot of people that I know. And so thankfully I also have a lot of millennials that work for me. I have them on my staff so that they can inform me about what’s current, what’s trending, what’s happening; because I need to be able to work with them and I need to be able to work for them as well.

Gabby: To really, I guess, address your earlier question, or talk about the sound and the direction that we’re being given with reads and with performances. I think the misconception is that the millennial read just does care, and is very flip, and very irreverent, and very just, I don’t know, removed from having any kind of emotion towards the subject or the content. And I don’t necessarily think that’s accurate. I don’t think that’s a fair way to look at it, because for what I think really happens with that generation is that they’ve been so saturated by technology, their whole lives. Remember, this is a generation that has never not known the internet.–

Anne: Right. Gabby:–Or has never not known a smartphone.

Anne: They’re so used to the technology and dealing with lots of it flying–

Gabby: Correct. Anne:–at them, you know, at once.

Gabby: And–Yes. And not just the tech but also messages. You know, they grew up in an information age unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Where you’re constantly being bombarded by stimuli. And so what people see as jaded is not that. It’s an audience that just isn’t necessarily moved or swayed by the old school hype that we’re typically used to seeing with advertising and with messaging. So, they prefer things that are a little more down to earth, and a little more genuine, because that’s what’s gonna motivate them to buy, not hype.

Anne: Right. That’s excellent. I really like that analogy–

Gabby: Yeah. Anne:–where it’s not that they don’t care, it’s simply that they are really looking for the authenticity in it all. And in the

Gabby: Yass! Anne:–meaning.

Gabby: And I think that that’s something that when you study millennials in advertising and in psychology, a lot of what we see is just that. Millennial buyers seem to be a little more about substance over stuff. They’re–

Anne: Right. Gabby:–these are not acquisition buyers anymore. Millennials will say, very freely, I would rather spend my money on experiences or travel or–

Anne: Right, than stuff.

Gabby: Than stuff, yes. Stuff, just doesn’t mean that much to them. So, I don’t know, I found them to be a much more mature buying audience than people give them credit for.

Anne: I think that’s a– I think that’s a really good point, Gabby. And I also think that the authenticity and the actual wanting to really be more down to earth, in terms of sales, really follows the advertising trend, as well. Right?

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: As we’ve become smart consumers I think the millennials, because they’ve been there all along, in that digital age, and have been thrown everything a hundred miles an hour, really are looking for that one experience that talks, that speaks to them. That speaks authentically to them and it is not just hype or sales or that sales pitch. And so, yeah, absolutely, that makes a whole lot of sense, and so, therefore, in terms of a millennial sound… what would you describe a millennial sound like, Gabby? Or is there one, even?

Gabby: I think like any other performance, I mean, it has degrees and it has definitely a range, but I think the majority of the millennial performances are gonna be a little bit more intimate. The feeling being, of course, that I’m not talking to a big group. You know, we hear that all the time. Speak one-on-one with your audience.–

Anne: Right. Gabby:–Talk to one person. But it takes it to a new level. It really does hone in on an individual. And things that are a little too polished, or a little too perfect to–

Anne: Right. Gabby:–this generation really smack of: “Oh, you’re just trying to sell me something.”–

Anne: Sales-y. Exactly. Gabby:–Things that are actually ironically a little rough around the edges makes sense to them. And have more influence.

Anne: For those of us trying to achieve something of that sound, that’s actually really difficult.

Gabby: It can be!

Anne: It’s difficult enough– well, it’s difficult enough, I think, for a lot of people to be conversational, but yet to be imperfect, that really, it really takes some skills. Because there’s a lot of us that have been doing this for so many years, right? And we have been practicing and we’ve done it a specific way for so long, that it’s hard for us to now be imperfect. And I love the fact that you said that, you know, it’s because they’re looking for the authenticity, they’re looking for nothing that’s too sales-y, which is why the imperfection, or a little bit of that, comes into the sound. I think that’s a really accurate assessment of that.

Gabby: Yeah, and, I mean, it’s really funny because I talk to my current voiceover students about this now, it’s a regular conversation, where I’ll meet someone who’s very new to voiceover and they have this really nice roughness about them. There’s this unpolished-ness, and I go, “It’s so great.” I go, “Unfortunately, what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna lose it. You’re gonna lose that imperfectness, you’re gonna polish it up, and then we’re gonna have to try to get you back to here.” So, go figure!

Anne: You know what’s so funny is that I’m working with a couple of students right now that are millennial age and what’s so interesting is that there’ll be times when, as a coach, right? They’ll be, kind of, really erratic in their pacing, maybe, sometimes. Or it’ll be a little bit not as inflected as I would like it to be and I keep thinking, again, “but no this is such a sound, that I think there might even be a trend towards now, besides millennial, but now maybe non-binary, or non-gendered specific, sound, which is also adds a level of intelligence to it. All, and–so I have to, as a coach, stop thinking of my own training from so long ago, right? Where I would be a little more dynamic or dramatic, and just keeping it more real, keeping it so much more authentic, even so, even more than I’m teaching conversational to all of my students. I’ve gotta let those little bit of imperfections go, and so when my student says to me, “So how was that?” You know, “How does that read?” And I’m like, “You know, I can’t pick that apart. Right now, because that does have a sound that really fits your brand.” It’s a really interesting kind of evolution for myself. Not only, not only as a voice talent but as a coach.

Gabby: Well, I really like that you hit on dynamics, and the fact that it is less of them. That, really, I think is the big sort of difference that we see in this. I wanna say something kinda, before I forget and we get too far into this episode, the term millennial, guys, is still very much in the air. It has not been embraced by the generation that we have dubbed millennial. And there’s a very realistic possibility that because it’s become such a negative word for so many that we may see it change. So, please don’t hold fast to it in your vernacular just yet.–

Anne: Yeah. Gabby:–It’s very possible that the millennial generation is gonna give way to a different name and a different way of being referred. We don’t know yet. So, Anne, tell me about some of your experiences with your millennial clients, and what’s that been like. I know you have some, I’ve had more than a few. Yeah.

Anne: Millennial clients are so not into billboarding, brand names, and stuff like that, but the billboarding has to be so much less than it used to be that I’m used to. I will have people tell me, I will have my millennial clients tell me to just, “Yeah, you know, okay. It’s–maybe just slow it down, or let’s just bring it down to more of a level sound. I don’t need you to be so infomercial.” That kind of stuff. Or sales, “I don’t need the sales pitch to come out.” I will have people give me that direction when I’m going to do that. Or, if I do have a client that is actually selling to a millennial audience that has a product, I will be asked to tone down the sale. You know, I still have clients who want me to do the sale, believe it or not, even though they say they don’t want me to. But, ultimately, they will end up directing me to a little bit more of a sales sound. But definitely not my millennials. My–

Gabby: No. Anne:–millennials will have just tone it down, be almost–And I think to myself, “Oh my god, that was so boring.” And they’re like, “That’s great, thanks!” You know. Yep, that’s our take!

Gabby: Yeah. I find, so, with my millennial clients, number one, I find them to be very appreciative. And I don’t know if that’s just been my experience, but they really are. They’re very pleasant to work with. They’re very encouraging. They’re very complimentary. As you’re going through a session. And they tend to honor the artistry of the performance a little more than what we’ve seen elsewhere.

Anne: Yeah, they pay attention to it more.

Gabby: Yeah! My session this morning was with a woman who–she knew the copy was too long, and she knew there was too much happening, but rather than tell me to go faster, to speed it up, to try to get more in she goes, “No, no. Let’s do the slower version and, you know, I’ll try to convince them to cut some words.” And I’m like, wow, that’s refreshing.

Anne: Yeah.

Gabby: How nice is that? Now, I’ve also seen situations that are coming up more recently where there’s a bit of a clash of the generations inside of a voiceover session within a clients committee, where I’ve had an older person, someone my generation or older, wanting one thing and the millennials in the room wanting something completely different, and you have to try to find the middle that’s gonna make them both happy. Very interesting stuff.

Anne: Yeah, I’ve actually had that myself. That exact same thing happened where there was a much younger person and an older person that were in the studio listening, and they kept going for the less– they ended up directing me towards the less dynamic, I should say, read.

Gabby: Right. The more subdued read. Yeah.

Anne: So, it does seem that even though there might be older people involved in the project, that they are listening to what the younger generation is saying, which is a good thing. It’s always a good thing.

Gabby: Well, I think, I mean realistically, guys, we have to recognize the buying power. We have to realize that it’s real. Millennials, I don’t know, I don’t know what it is, Anne. People get this idea in their head about “Oh, the next generation.” You know, like, “They’re kids.” Hello! They’re not kids. College age people. People in their early 20s.–

Anne: Sure. Gabby:–Young professionals. These are millennials. They’re buyers. They are consumers. They have a lot of control. Much like, you know, advertising always look at like the baby boomer crowd.–

Anne: Oh, absolutely!– Gabby:–Or the disposable income. But– Anne:–That’s who everybody’s looking at. Gabby:–millennials who are not yet, who haven’t yet had children, haven’t started making a family, are just as viable as those baby boomers, because they too have disposable income.

Anne: And, you know, as they say, there’s been that whole trend towards the advertising, which has also being cut down in length. In terms of thirty second commercials might be a whole like shorter now. There might just be more visuals and less voice. I mean, what are your thoughts on that, Gabby?

Gabby: I think it’s happening. I think we’ve been seeing it. I think, I mean gosh, we went through a phase about five years ago where voiceover for a multitude of reasons, but this is definitely one of them, was taking a back seat. There was very little, if any, voiceover in a lot of projects.–

Anne: Right. Gabby:–So, I mean, it’s just realistic. Your viewpoint, or your attitude towards millennials is absolutely going to impact the relationships that you potentially don’t build with them. And, you know, influence the way you view your jobs moving forwards. So, try for a more positive approach. Try for something where–

Anne: Oh, absolutely. Gabby:–you can actually find things that you can appreciate about that generation, instead of always poo-pooing them so much.

Anne: Well, I’ve even had some millennials refer to “the millennial read,” and so there’s older millennials who are like, “Yeah, I thought that was horrible, and I could have done a better job than that, in that particular spot, and I can’t believe that, that was you know, directed so flat like that.” But it’s interesting, because, honestly, we are evolving, yet again, into another trend just when conversational, less announcer-y, you know, non-announcer-y type of spec read is now going to be, again I think, evolving into this type of–but we wont call it a millennial read–but it will be this type of whatever they want to term it next. You know, I like to think maybe non-bine–you know what I mean, non-gender specific or non-binary, or maybe that will be another trend as well. But for those of you that in your voiceover business it behooves you to study up and coming trends. And evolving advertising trends as well. Follow those trends and to study them, and to make sure that your business is evolving along with them.

Gabby: Yes. We can’t just sit back and continue to do what we’ve always done and think that it’s gonna work with a new buying crowd. It wont.

Anne: Right. Otherwise you have no business.

Gabby: Yeah.

Anne: So, bosses, be a boss and start looking at this trend. Don’t ignore it. Start studying it and see how you might be able to serve the new generation that’s coming up.

Gabby: Millennial appreciation.

Anne: There you go.

Gabby: We need that. We need that big time.

Anne: Great episode, Gabby. I would like to thank our sponsor, ipDTL. If you guys are listening to our quality connection and recording here, it is due to our fabulous sponsor, ipDTL, and you can find out more at

Gabby: Please, make sure to connect with us in all the different ways that you can have more BOSS in your life. You’ve got Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and Youtube, where you can give us the thumbs up, like, and subscribe. And, of course, iTunes and Stitcher.

Anne: You guys, have a kick butt week, stay focused, and rock your business like a BOSS

Gabby: Like a BOSS Bye guys!

Anne: See you soon! Bye.

VO: Join us next week for another addition of VO BOSS, with your host Anne Ganguzza and Gabby Nistico. All rights reserved. Anne Ganguzza voice talent in association with Three Moon Media. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.