Ad of the Day: DirecTV Explores Fates Worse Than Cable in Hilarious Ad Campaign | Adweek
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Ad of the Day: DirecTV

A fate worse than cable awaits TV viewers in Grey and director Tom Kuntz's deftly amusing ad campaign

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No, DirecTV isn't threatening to leave you in a ditch, blow up your house, fill your living room with cats, or sell your hair to a wig shop. It's just suggesting that these things might happen to you, through no fault of your own, if you were to stick with your cable provider for some inexplicable reason.

The conceit is more or less as old as language, not to get unbearably pretentious about it. For want of a nail, the shoe was lost, etc. It's a great idea, and it's pretty much a gimme on film, since there's so much you can do by cutting from scene to scene with a voiceover explaining how what you're seeing relates to what happened (the narrator in the spots is gold, by the way).

And these are seriously some of the purely funniest ads I've seen in quite a while. We've already written about the Charlie Sheen spot. Let's pick apart another great one, "Wig Shop," shall we? Our ringleted cable subscriber experiences a perfectly understandable depression when he can't find anything good to watch, so he goes to a seminar, receives a perilous boost in self-esteem, loses his shirt in Vegas, and must sell his hair. A terrible fate, indeed. I'd say a good half of this ad's appeal is its casting—the poor cable subscriber is such a doe-eyed, almost-smiling, hippie-ish naif that it's pretty much a foregone conclusion he'll have been pushed off something or embarrassed by the ad's end.

Tom Kuntz, who directed all the spots, does a lot with a little: It's all about what you don't see, like our hapless television lover crying as he's shorn of his blond curls, betting three grand on a pair of deuces, or doing a trust fall. The focus is on what he's about to do, or, in the final shot, what he's just done. Mostly we get wordless reactions that say, "Hey, yeah, I am a winner!" or "Please just give me my money so that I can go home and cry."

The sets are pretty great, too, especially in "House," which name-checks the Scorsese Cape Fear more than once. Now, if only we could figure out how all these incredibly coincidental disasters just happened to befall people who refused to subscribe to Direc…

Oh my God.













CREDITS
Client: DirecTV

Spots: "Stray Animals," "Roadside Ditch," "Dog Collar"
Agency: Grey, New York
President, Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren
Executive Creative Director: Dan Kelleher
Associate Creative Directors: Doug Fallon, Steven Fogel
Agency Executive Producer: Andrew Chinich
Agency Associate Producer: Lindsay Myers
Production Company: MJZ, Los Angeles
Director: Tom Kuntz
Director of Photography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Editor: Gavin Cutler, Mackenzie Cutler
Assistant Editor: Ryan Steele
Sound Design: Sam Shaffer, Mackenzie Cutler
VFX: The Mill; Schmigital

Spots: "Wig Shop," "House," "Platoon"
Agency: Grey, New York
President, Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren
Executive Creative Director: Dan Kelleher
Associate Creative Directors: Doug Fallon, Steven Fogel
Agency Executive Producer: Andrew Chinich
Agency Associate Producer: Lindsay Myers
Production Company: MJZ, Los Angeles
Director: Tom Kuntz
Director of Photography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Producer: Jeff McDougall
Editor: Gavin Cutler, Mackenzie Cutler
Assistant Editors: Nick Divers, Valerie Sachs
Sound Design: Sam Shaffer, Mackenzie Cutler
VFX: Method, New York
"Platoon" Talent: Charlie Sheen
VO Talent: Robb Webb