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DirecTV Blitzes NFL Fans With Sunday Opener Ads

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The Super Bowl—at least for DirecTV—will be this Sunday.

On Fox Sept. 13, the satellite TV service will premiere six new, nontraditional, 60-second commercials featuring actor/comedian Tom Arnold touting the different features of its service during Fox’s National Football League telecasts.

It’s common practice for some advertisers like Anheuser Busch or Pepsi to create multiple new commercials for airing in the Super Bowl, but unusual for one to do so for the opening Sunday games of the NFL season.

But to DirecTV, Sunday's NFL opener is one of its most important days of the year to reach and interest new customers in its NFL Sunday Ticket package, where viewers can see every NFL game, every Sunday.

While neither DirecTV, its media agency Deutsch nor Fox would say how much it will be spending, Peter Gardiner, chief media officer for Deutsch said, “This will be like a Super Bowl investment.” That would be close to $3 million cumulatively for all the spots and billboards.

The new commercials were created by Deutsch Los Angeles with input from Arnold, DirecTV and Fox Sports sales.

In addition to the six new commercials—one which will run in the "NFL on Fox" pregame show; two in each of the four 1 p.m. regional games on Fox; two in the 4 p.m. national game (Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants); and one in Fox's postgame show, The OT—DirecTV will also run five of its traditional 30-second commercials that have been airing since July. Those spots feature LL Cool J, and Eli and Peyton Manning.

Fox will also feature billboards touting DirecTV.

While Fox will exclusively air the six new commercials, CBS and NBC on Sunday, and ESPN on Monday night will all air a handful of DirecTV’s traditional :30 spots.

“[DirectTV] is going to dominate the day and the weekend,” Gardiner said. “It’s the perfect time to sell its Sunday Ticket package to viewers. So we are treating it like the Super Bowl.”

Jon Gieselman, senior vp of advertising for DirecTV, said the new commercials have Arnold talking to an audience about the features of DirecTV. In addition to previous features like the ability for viewers to watch eight games at once on a single screen, Gieselman said new features to be touted by Arnold include: the ability of subscribers to see every game in high definition; being able to watch any game on nine different models of cell phones; and seeing any game on a special, exclusive computer site.

Arnold will be identified as the NFL Sunday Ticket Self Help Counselor, and Gieselman said a good portion of each commercial was ad-libbed by Arnold.

“They are meant to be educational but also to be entertaining and fun for the fan,” Gieselman added.