I’m Rachael Naylor, CEO of The VoiceOver Network and a well-known voice actor.
Tesco have announced that they are running a competition to find someone to do the voiceovers for all of their checkouts in the UK, with the winner being awarded a bundle of clubcard points in addition to becoming ‘the voice of Tesco’.
By running a competition to find a voice for their company, Tesco are giving the impression that voice acting is an unskilled job that anyone could do, which devalues our profession. Voice acting is a respected profession that takes many years of training, hard work, dedication and investment to perfect.
Can you imagine if Tesco ran a competition to find their next CEO with the pay being made in clubcard points instead of money?
This is not the first time that our industry has been disrespected in this way. In 2019, Virgin Trains announced a similar competition on their social media pages which caused outrage throughout the UK voiceover community and lead to the General Secretary of Equity writing to Virgin Trains to express the concerns of its members about Virgin Trains’ disregard of the entertainment industry.
The UK voiceover industry needs support, and respect for the work that we do. Too many voice actors are being taken advantage of in the UK and this needs to stop. Voice actors are not paid just for the sound of their voice but also for the years of hard work and investment that they have put into their businesses.
Through this competition, Tesco are withholding the type of job that could provide an essential source of income to a member of our community and undermining our livelihoods. They are also potentially stealing the right for their ‘winning’ voice to undertake future work with its competitors that will pay proper industry standard rates.
In the current climate of financial hardship, this competition is both ethically and morally inappropriate. I would recommend that professional voice actors should not get involved with the competition and that as many people as possible should stand up to this supermarket giant.
Shame on you Tesco.
CEO of The VoiceOver Network,
Editor of The Buzz Magazine and Voice Actor
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