08 April 2015

'I'm Unemployed Rob Lowe, and I have DirecTV'

Perhaps the most stunning news to be heard from the world of entertainment all year is the report that the Better Business Bureau has compelled the DirecTV satellite service provider to discontinue its series of commercials in which Rob Lowe compares his happy life with the product to the misery or madness of various doppelgangers who subscribe to cable television. The series probably was already past its useful lifespan, since the most recent ones seemed to have very little to say against cable TV, the producers being more interested in how they could transform Lowe and the jokes to be drawn from his multiple personalities. But a cable provider -- Comcast, one of the biggest -- actually took offense, and what's more, protested that the commercials were untruthful about the relative merits of cable and satellite. For once, then, an advertiser has been held accountable, if not liable, for the claims made in commercials. Because this is such an exceptional event, cynics are already saying that it only proves that Comcast has more leverage in the trade than it should have. I wouldn't worry about that if today's decision actually set a precedent for holding all advertisers accountable for their more fantastic claims. Does anyone really think that DirecTV is the only advertiser guilty of these offenses, or even the worst offender?  And shouldn't the Better Business Bureau and its advertising division be responsive to consumers (or potential consumers) as well as competitors with dubious advertisers? Imagine how the next election cycle would change if political advertising were held to the same standard that now shames DirecTV. Aren't most negative campaign ads just variations on the Rob Lowe concept anyway? After all, the candidates do tend to look alike after a while....

1 comment:

hobbyfan said...

You're right about one thing, Sam. The Rob Lowe ads had passed their expiration point. DirecTV had gone too far. In contrast, it seemed they pulled the plug on the Manning Bros./Deion Sanders with pixie wings for NFL Sunday Ticket a couple of years back after about a month of the NFL season.

However, they've wasted little time starting a new ad campaign. "Heather and her Horse", starring model Heather Davis, better known as Derek Jeter's current squeeze. More of the same dreck, really.