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Radio Commercial – Wrong Pictures + No Core Message

To begin this week’s Radio Commercial Smackdown, let’s listen to the advertisement:

If everyone in the target audience already knows what “DanActive Probiotic Dairy Drinks” is, maybe this radio commercial can be slightly successful.

But although the company that makes the product, Dannon, is well-known in yogurt-loving circles, take this test:

Ask the next 10 people you see, “What’s DanActive?”

In response you’ll receive numerous attempts at witty answers, but I’ll be surprised if more than 1.4 people know it’s a “drinkable probiotic yogurt.”

Radio Advertising Rule #1: Radio Advertising Solves Problems.

According to this spot, the problem is that of a busy mother who “needs to take care of” herself as well as her annoying kids.

Despite the patently false presentation of which is supposed to be a real-life family situation, we understand what the problem is.

And the solution to the problem?

It’s something or other — Dan Active?

Some sort of “dairy drink” that apparently is “probiotic,” whatever that is.

We understand the problem. The solution— not so much.

Radio Advertising Rule #2:
The Pictures Your Commercial Paints in the Listener’s Mind Are What the Listener Will Remember.

All the mental pictures created by this spot are of the “problem”; none is of the solution.

What images do you remember?

The whiny kids?

The couch, under which something-or-other is hiding?

The mother taking something out of the refrigerator?


Do you retain images of someone drinking DanActive and feeling…

Wait, how are they supposed to feel now? Energetic? Stronger? Better able to cope with annoying children? Less prone to illness?

However DanActive drinkers are supposed to feel, do you picture her drinking the stuff and/or enjoying its wonderfully positive, albeit undefined, benefits?

The woman says, “Plus, they help to support the immune system.”

What is that supposed to be in addition to? “Supporting the immune system” is the first benefit this radio ad claims for the product.

It’s like saying to a friend, “Hi. Plus, there’s a good movie on TV tonight.”

Let’s Pretend We Know What This Product Is Supposed to Do for Us.

Clearly DanActive in some way is supposed to enhance our health.

They don’t bother explaining to us how it enhances our health, but somehow it’s supposed to make us healthier than we’d be if it weren’t for good ol’ DanActive.

Although they never tell us how, if you force yourself to listen to the entire spot you understand that in some unnamed way it’s supposed to be good for us. Radio Commercial – Wrong Pictures + No Core Message

That’s the intended message: Drink this stuff, and you’ll be healthier or you’ll get sick less often…or something. Just drink the damn stuff, okay? It’s good for you.

If that’s the intended message, why do they have the woman proclaim that it “tastes delicious”?

Is that actually the product’s big selling point — its delicious taste?

Do they figure that in addition to selling to the Health Conscious, they’ll also grab a hunk o’ the milkshake loving crowd?

If their Core Message is supposed to be “health” (however vaguely), why are they wasting their time talking (unconvincingly) about “delicious taste”?

Radio Advertising Rule #3:
Successful Advertising Intersects Common Human Behavior and Experience.

In the radio ad the mother explains, “Just had to grab a DanActive.”

In real life the kids would respond, “You had to grab what??? What’re you talking ’bout, Mom? We’re gonna be late!”

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  • Tony Mario Mariani February 22, 2016, 4:11 am

    Spot on Dan. And the name does the product no favors. Sounds more like a private detective. Active, Dan Active!

  • Harley Benner February 22, 2016, 11:35 am

    Another thing that jumped out at me was the “Mom” suddenly becoming the announcer…up to and including the disclaimer at the end right after she “grabbed her DanActive”. As bad as the theater of the mind image we had of her and her brats might have been, they totally blew up any believability in her character when she broke into annoncer speak and became the spokeman for the product.