DirecTV “Louder”

As a rabid fan of Christopher Guest’s mockumentary work (This is Spinal Tap is my favorite movie of all time), I can’t even look at Ed Begley Jr. without cracking up. So to see him sitting at the head of a boardroom table in this new Guest-directed DirecTV spot is a pleasure indeed. Some of the director’s usual crew is around to improvise, too. On the heels of the previous campaign, which hilariously re-created famous scenes in TV and movies, with a present day star going back in time, this spot makes more salient sales points. The only problem here is that as a subject to parody, dumb cable executives are not really as ripe for parody as folksingers or dog maniacs. It’s more The Office humor; it also comes off as making fun of really bad clients, which certainly has been done. Still, the setup is entertaining and sets the stage for a much more well, direct, comparison of cable and DirecTV. In “Louder,” for instance, these clueless suits are trying to figure out a way to make cable look more exciting when in fact “DirecTV has the 100 best cable channels.” One execu-doofus proposes that they promote the fact that cable is louder, and, to illustrate the difference, screams, “Hello, this is the nightly news.” It’s kind of brilliant in evoking that annoying combo of bad taste and boredom that some cable shows offer. “You deserve better” is the tagline. It works.–Barbara Lippert