This is a short story about how IRS+ and Nissan proved that local accents matters in advertising and that “own accent bias” is real. Together with FOE, and with the help of Spark Foundry and Nissan, we explored the relationship between the use of regional accents in advertising and its potential commercial gains and confirmed what we have suspected for a long time. A local accent makes a difference in advertising, because as it turns out, we all like the sound of our own voice!

Our study focused on the psychology behind accent and featured a strong base of 15,000 respondents. The results speak for themselves with geographically targeted copy clearly outperforming the national accent. Our research proved that the accents used in advertising voiceovers can have a real, positive impact on your campaign results.

“This research proved the science of local accent bias where we ‘lean in’ and become more engaged when we hear others speaking in the same way as ourselves.” – Peter Smyth, Chief Executive of IRS+

So.. how did we do this?

We needed a brand brave and bold enough to take part in our experiment. Enter Nissan with a fresh new look at their latest Qashqai range and a great “national” TV ad for us to experiment with.

Our controlled geo-targeted study across YouTube using its “True View” format (ads you can skip) showcased a neutral “national” voiceover Nissan Qashqai ad placed against the same ad but this time, the voice over was recorded with a local accent. We felt YouTube was ideal for this experiment, as it is already highly trusted by Irish brands that spend upward of €22 million per year on the platform.

These ads ran side by side for two weeks in four high population regions which included Kerry, Midlands (Laois, Offaly, Westmeath), Southeast (Wexford, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny) and Donegal.

Check out the ads below.


Southeast Radio:


Highland Radio:


Midlands Radio:


Radio Kerry:



Across the 6 age groups in each region, only 2 out of the total 24 did not favour the local accent, giving us a 91% success rate. And here’s a quick breakdown of how the targeted ad outperformed the national one across each county.

Donegal: +5.13%
Kerry: +3.91%
Midlands: +2/26%
Southeast: +0.76%

It is also important to mention that in terms of consumer engagement, 22 out of 24 age groups from 18-65+ also engaged more with the local accent version.



What did Nissan think?

“We were delighted to be asked by IRS+ to lend our national campaign for the purposes of this fascinating piece of research. It has delivered an important new insight that confirms that, in Ireland, there is a different dynamic at play between national and local activity. It has certainly given us a new perspective.” – Jeanne McGann, Head of Marketing and Communications at Nissan Ireland

We’ve pulled all these findings together into a video. Take a look below and let us know how IRS+ can help your brand breathe new life into any national campaign and get more value from your creative assets.



Contact us today and together we can explore what local opportunities we can bring to your brand or your clients.

Contact us
086 084 1756 or 087 766 4918 |


Latest Articles