The trend in commercial voice-over these days seems to be “natural, real, conversational, unpolished.” I put those words in quotation marks because I see them all the time in casting specs and I say seems to be because in spite of all this direction to be real and not sound like a polished voice talent, I hear a lot of commercial voice-over that doesn’t really fit these specs.
Often what passes for real and natural sounds, to me, more like a flat announcer read. Sometimes, it seems that lack of inflection is being interpreted as natural. I don’t know anyone who ACTUALLY talks like that. Most people speak with inflection. Interestingly, I’ve seen a few casting specs recently that say something like, “Although we want a natural read, don’t make it flat. Please have some inflection.”
Also, there are still plenty of announcer and radio DJ-style reads out there. I hear them all the time. Probably because they’re effective. They may be out of favor and sound dated to some people, but some things just work.