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MONDAY RADIO COMMERCIAL SMACKDOWN: Advil’s Radio Advertising Headache

Former radio guy, MTV pioneer and E! Entertainment CEO Lee Masters loves “agent jokes.” Here’s one:

An agent is on the phone with a producer, pitching one of his clients. A minute or two into the conversation the producer interrupts and says, “Hey, wait a minute. You’re lying to me!”

The agent says, “Yeah, I know. But hear me out…”

When you begin a commercial with an obvious lie, you lose the entire battle:

No, you don‘t work at the pharmacy counter. You’re a voice actor. And everyone listening knows you don’t work at the pharmacy. They know that you are lying to them.

“It packs the power of Advil with a strong decongestant.”

Yep, that’s exactly how my pharmacist speaks. How about yours?

Oh, and I guess the music that comes in at :10 is being piped into the pharmacy?

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  • Alan David Doane March 30, 2009, 8:06 am

    In all fairness, Dan, the very last second of the spot is something a pharmacist would actually say, if they had bothered to have one do the spot.

  • Glen Pavlovich March 30, 2009, 8:49 am

    I didn’t notice the lie, or the product.

    When I heard the commercial on the radio, I was distracted by the phrase “I work at the pharmacy counter”.

    For the next 30 seconds, I thought about why the script didn’t call for the VO to even pretend to be an actual Pharmacist. What the legal issues are about pretendind to be a pharmacist vs. someone who works at the pharmacy counter.

    A good opening line is important. But, one that distracts the listener from the rest of the commercial is counterproductive.

  • scott s. April 1, 2009, 5:49 pm

    does anyone care about what dan calls a “lie”? there are so many lies in commericals, from phony enthusiasm in hyped reads, to two voicers that you KNOW are scripted because there is seldom deliberate product placement which details what sounds like what the manufacturer would say in the average joe’s conversation. saying, “I work at the pharmacy counter” is just another lie we can overlook and get past. I’d be saying “hi..i’m peggy, from the pharmacy counter..” this gives a name to the voice and will stick in the listeners mind more if the message is worth remembering.

    I didn’t like the read. you can have all the words you want, but if the delivery is forgettable, so are the words.

    Likewise, If the spot is great delivery, writing, but the product is forgettable, it will also be remembered. We have a spot for a funeral home running in my area that is remincent of WKRP, no jingle, but talking about preneed for a younger demo, and the kicker being that you have control and your loved ones won’t bury you in your old prom dress…it makes me do a double take and remember the funeral home.


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