Before we launch into this radio commercial critique, let’s listen to the spot.
While they attempt to combine a sympathetic voice with a gentle music track, none of it works.
That’s the delivery of a voice actor “trying to sound sincere.” It’s not the way real people talk.
As always, there’s a good chance the voice actor was giving the producers exactly what they asked for. So I’m not necessarily criticizing the VO person’s performance.
But obviously they’re trying to sound soothing to listeners who might be in a time of crisis.
What words do they choose to accompany the sympathetic voice and gentle music?
“A cancer diagnosis raises worry and questions.”
Huh? They’re attempting to effect a personal, one-to-one sound, but they choose words that aren’t about a person.
That’s easy to fix:
“When you’re diagnosed as having cancer….”
In their opening line, they define a problem: “Worry and questions.”
The rest of the commercial ignores the “questions” a patient might have. Why do they begin the spot by identifying a problem they don’t offer to solve?
After 10 seconds of vainly attempting to sound concerned and reassuring, the ad reveals its true colors: It’s not about the listener. It’s all about City of Hope.
“Hello, I’m using this sympathetic-sounding voice to brag about how wonderful City of Hope is.”
1. It’s “a treatment facility like no other.”
What does that mean? How is that treatment facility different from all other treatment facilities?
2. In your entire life, has anyone ever uttered to you the phrase, “like no other”?
Of course not.
Humans say something like “it’s really different,” while bad copywriters say “like no other.” They’re attempting to simulate a one-to-one conversation by employing language that is unrealistic and unrelatable.
3. “Our team of physicians…all working together in one place…” Is that a Unique Selling Proposition for a hospital? That its physicians all work in the same building? Isn’t that pretty much expected of a hospital?
4. If you’re told you have cancer, you don’t think, “I’ve got to find a hospital whose clinical trials are used by” other cancer treatment centers. So why do they talk about their clinical trials?
5. I’m not certain — I invite any Attorneys Specializing in Advertising for Hospitals to chime in — but I suspect the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t allow a hospital to promise “your best chance for survival” unless it can prove it actually does offer a better chance for survival than all other hospitals.
6. You’re told you have cancer. Quick, what publication are you likely to consult in your quest for treatment? Probably not U.S. News and World Report.
7. City of Hope has been named “one of the nation’s best cancer hospitals.”
Is that one of the 5 best?
One of the 100 best?
If I’m going to put my life in the hands of a hospital based upon its ranking in a general news magazine, rather than “one of the best” I’d prefer to to go with “the best,” if you don’t mind.
8. At the end of the commercial they give two Calls to Action: call or or to our website.
Choice Paralyzes Response.
Give a single Call to Action.
Which one should you give?
The one that most members of your target audience use to establish their first contact with the hospital.
Here’s a Suggestion for Anyone Who Wants to Produce A “Sincere” Radio Commercial.
Rather than attempting to sound sincere, try being sincere.