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One minute from now — or less — the only image you’ll be able to recall from this radio commercial is this dog.

What the heck does that guy & his dog have to do with what’s being advertised?

In case you missed it: The spot is, vaguely, about health care. The big message: The advertiser promises to deliver health care “with compassion and respect.” Big whoop.

The Call To Action is to go the radio station website and enter the advertiser’s “key word.” But guess what? The advertiser has its own website.

Which do you think is easier for the listener to remember and to be able to enter accurately?

“kost1035.com, keyword ‘lakeside'”



Why doesn’t the commercial send them directly to the advertiser’s website? Probably so the radio station can “track” responses, and the advertiser can see how many visitors were sent by the station. Of course, the number of visitors will be smaller than if the commercial gave the advertiser’s URL instead, but I guess that’s not important.

Actually, in this case isn’t important because very few people will go to either website as the result of hearing this spot. Why not? Because the listener isn’t given any reason to. The entire Call Action is to go to the website and enter the key word. And then what? Uh….They haven’t figured that out yet.

Surprise! Somebody Did Something Right.

The station’s URL is www.kost1035.com. But plenty of listeners will hear that as “www.coast1035.com.”

In a rare case of radio station Web intelligence, someone purchased the “misspelled” KOST URL. Doesn’t help this lousy commercial, but it’s nice to see that someone was smart enough to spend an extra few bucks a year to capture traffic that otherwise would be lost.

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  • John February 23, 2009, 8:47 am

    I’m beginning to think the entire health care profession is suffering from non-objective-itis. So many commercials for hospitals, treatment centers, even doctors offices offer absolutely nothing in the way of persuasion to act in their commercials. Its as if they just want to advertise their name and nothing else matters.

    If the goal of the commercial is to get me, joe average listener, to decide that I want to switch doctors or medical care providers and start going to this place – then they’ve failed miserably.

    Where I live there’s a hospital running a commercial about their new expert cardiologist. It’s a testimonial from a patient and the doctor explaining the treatment. The commercial explains that this patient had high cholesterol and the expert cardiologist put him on a cholesterol lowering medicine and recommended some diet and exercise programs.

    To which I thought, WOW! That expert cardiologist is amazing! I sure couldn’t get that same level of treatment from practically every doctor I would see except for maybe my dentist – though the dentist could still probably recommend some diet and exercise programs!

    No need to worry about switching doctors here.

  • Kevin Zimmermann February 23, 2009, 8:59 am

    I tried to put myself into the mind of the creator of this spot to figure out why he/she went that direction. I didn’t even get the delivery of healthcare services to be “top-of-mind”. Instead, I found “promise/trust” to be the point intended to be “driven into” the mind of the listener. When a trusted loved one promises – we expect them to follow through – which is what I suspect would ideally be applied to this healthcare provider. But the voice actor and producer did such a bang-up job of driving that warm, fuzzy, puppy-dog image into my mind that IT became the highlight of this otherwise forgettable message – not the promise/trust. The keyword part further diluted the message.

    It reminds me that as writers/producers, when designing a spot our production must not inadvertently detract from the core message. It’s akin to misusing humor in a spot. Humor is the vehicle; it must deliver the message safely and effectively without detracting from, and without becoming, the real focus of the spot. This is what the “dog / loving owner” image did for me.

    I must rant for just one moment as well…I cannot make this leap that so many messages ask me to: “TRUST”, as in “THE ONES YOU TRUST TO GET IT DONE”(commercials), or “WE’RE THE NEWS SOURCE YOU TRUST” (news promo) etc. The more I thought about this overdone message of trust, the more I found an “empty” message.

    If I need car repair for the first time or I’m new to town, I don’t trust anyone – I have no experience to go by. And if everyone’s message is the same: “WE’RE THE ONES YOU TRUST”, then I’m back at square one. This is where terms like “rated number 1 for service” or “award-winning service” serves better.

    As for TV or Radio News, “trust” never enters the picture. A “trusted source” might be needed by the news-gatherers, but for the listener or viewer, c’mon now! I’m going to make my judgement on depth, delivery, production value, etc. It’s not all that hard to tell a good newscast from a bad one, even if you don’t know alot about the news department or the media. Maybe I’m too close to the biz, but I can’t imagine the average viewer or listener buying into this “trust” aspect of news departments. Pure “puffery” as far as I’m concerned, and a waste of good promo time, too! I DO know – based upon experience with friends and family – that more people choose their news source based upon the left or right-leaning bias that frames the delivery of stories as opposed to any perceived “trust”. In that case, people do what we count on them to do – to pick US because WE give them what they desire.

    It’s not about trust…it’s about satisfaction!

  • Anonymous February 23, 2009, 9:41 am

    I spent most of the ad thinking that I’m not sure what comprehensive means. Comprehensive heath care? What is that?

  • Sandy Weaver Carman February 23, 2009, 11:53 am

    Wow…disconnect on a lot of levels, but thanks again for a great smackdown, Dan.

    What I thought was most jarring was that when AnnouncerLady came to the party, she pretty much said the guy just lied to his dog. So…irrelevant content, snotty attitude, no call to action, dumb web site address choice…yep, I’d call this one a big loser.

  • Justin Cleveland February 23, 2009, 1:04 pm

    It might be interesting for you to provide a counterpoint–it’s hard to write a commercial that is only supposed to build brand recognition. So what would you do differently?

  • AdamG February 23, 2009, 1:16 pm

    Hi Lakeside Community. I think you bit off more than you can chew. You’re sniffing up the wrong tree. You are playing B-I-N-G-O with your advertising money and it will bite the hand that feeds it. You will be in The Dog House by trying to be the Big Dog instead of maintaining a short leash and draw from personal Lakeside Medical Customer experience.. Say go ahead and use the “Dog Bark” now that you probably have it plastered everywhere and introduce Lakeside Customers recovery stories of Real People Who have great things to say about how you treated and cared for them. Give a stuffed Doggie to your Children Visitors.

  • Adam G February 23, 2009, 1:30 pm

    Perhaps a Point here on the smackdowns that maybe I missed DOD’s introduction summary is -Some one or some group takes the responibility of writing the commercial..someone or some group approves that commercial and some one or some group within the Client’s Company Approves That commercial and some one or some group is getting Paid for their SERVICES. Maybe or maybe not do the SERVICES stop there at Delivery of that Commercial but Jumping -in to Gather Information of Commercial Results! Oh, that is scary if you are like bark bark commercial making empty promises to your client but if you sincerely believe in your Campaign you should be confident that your Gathering results will prove Positive..and Standing Up for your Company should be expected by the Client you represent -and a Hiring Point. Yet that could just be in a perfect world- I hope if anything Mr O’Day is causing Groups to have Integrity and dedication in what they do . Either that Or Medical Groups need Quality Control on their advertising bucks right now.

  • Adam G February 23, 2009, 1:40 pm

    Medical Billboard Wars- on the 91 freeway in Riverside County ,Ca there are three Medical Groups with Billbioards representing their view in getting YOUR attention. One goes for the numbers telling US that their Doctors are Voted Number 1 in such and such. One tells us that the children come out of the hospital smiling..and One tells us about the relationship developed by both the doctors and the children in care to fight the fight together.
    So when I’m rolling on the freeway and if I had to chose one place to treasure my health of the three it would be where I can see the “Whole Picture” Not JUST Numbers and Not JUST smiling kids.
    Nice Job.

  • Anonymous February 23, 2009, 1:48 pm

    It seems to me they are using the “promise” as a connection–something that matters. I didn’t get that the announcer was saying the owner was lying, on the contrary, that they were similar! I don’t know that it is so terrible to want to track responses given that when you can provide measurable results due to your marketing efforts –that’s a good thing. Also, the listener is already at a radio station they are probably familiar with. They may be more likely to remember a key word than a long website.

  • Dan O’Day February 23, 2009, 2:00 pm

    @ Anonymous: If in order to track response to prove its value the radio station lowers overall total response for the advertiser — and I guarantee it did — then the station is putting its own interests ahead of the clients.

  • snarf February 23, 2009, 2:42 pm

    Makes me glad to live in canada with free health care. There maybe long waits in some cases, but you don’t have to wade through the BS of ads to make a choice that may or may not cause a malpractice suit. This spot is just so plastic in tone as it is, it would turn me off from the get go.

  • Anonymous February 23, 2009, 4:40 pm

    All I can say is huh? I agree that all I actually remeber is the dog. Thats about it. Nothing else.

  • Rob Holding February 24, 2009, 12:34 am

    There are two special places reserved in hell for this. One for the person who wrote it and the other for the person who let it go to air.

  • Brad Shannon February 24, 2009, 9:40 am

    Maybe the intent of the spot is about branding.

    Seems to me what this spot is about is the opportunity to introduce a name and build the brand. And isn’t branding all about building a relationship with a consumer or a patient in this case.

    Many of us can relate to the promises we make to people…all this is saying is that this company is making a commitment.

    I like that the guy is committed to his dog…plus it’s a relationship that is about care and compassion…which is what healthcare delivery should be (wish all of my doctors were so caring and concerned…)


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