Luxury fashion house Givenchy has been accused of “exploiting the public” and having a “blatant disregard” for the voice-over industry, after launching an unpaid opportunity to become the new voice of the brand.
The competition, which has been condemned by Equity, comes weeks after Virgin Trains was rebuked for a similar campaign, looking for customers to audition to become the “new voice of its talking toilets”, with no payment offered for their services.
Givenchy is running a campaign calling for members of the public to “join the voice-over challenge” and submit a recording of themselves “for a chance to be the next Givenchy voice” and to be posted on the company’s social media channels.
The terms and conditions of the competition state that participation is free and that “no financial compensation or expense in any form whatsoever” can be claimed by entrants.
Equity general secretary Christine Payne said: “We are extremely angry that we are once again confronted with a competition of this nature which is taking a paid job away from professional voice-over artists.
“This is a blatant disregard of the industry and demeans the highly skilled work of voice-over artists.
“Givenchy states in its terms and conditions that it is a company with a capital of €3,000,000 and yet it is not willing to pay proper rates and is essentially using a competition as a guise to exploit the public.”
Payne said Equity had written to to the fashion house urging it to “reconsider this publicity stunt” and engage with Equity to “establish proper terms and conditions for the employment of audio artists”.
“Equity will continue to do all we can to stamp out these practices, which are denying our members their right to earn a living doing the work they are trained to do,” she added.
Many members of the industry have criticised the competition on Twitter, with musicals writer Jenifer Toksvig tweeting: “No, no, no. This is a profession. It’s called voice-over work and it’s done by actors. Professional ones, who get paid. This is only a ‘chance’ for someone to do unpaid amateur work and deprive a professional of a job. Stop that now.”
Following a tweet advertising the voice-over competition, Givenchy later tweeted: “Givenchy wishes to clarify that the open call for voice-overs is not commercial, as opposed to the first three versions of this campaign that featured paid talents. The house respects all artists: there is no media buy on this project. We hope fans will have fun getting involved.”