Around a month ago, Grey New York moved beyond Rob Lowe with two new spots for DirecTV, promoting NFL Sunday Ticket with “Bad Comedian Eli Manning” and “Arts & Craftsy Tony Romo.” Now the agency has launched a new spot with Randy Moss promoting the package, but not everyone is amused.
Moss’ cable alter-ego in the ad is “Petite Randy Moss,” a much shorter version of the notably tall wide receiver. The spot continuously mocks his height, such as when he attempts to put his feet on the coffee table but can’t reach or when he says “I hate it when they put the Fruity Munch on the top shelf.” Predictably, the spot has left some upset over its perceived height-bashing, as evidenced by a quick glance at the YouTube comments section. Like David Gianatasio over at AdFreak, my height could generously be estimated at five and a half feet. Personally I don’t find the ad offensive, but it does suffer from a lack of creativity. The agency’s Tony Romo counterpart gave some hope that Grey could take the campaign in interesting directions going forward, but here there’s just a cheap sight-gag that feels like a first idea which should have been discarded. Notably, it’s not the first time the campaign has left people offended, as “Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe” angered sufferers of shy bladder syndrome.
“Randy Moss was one of the tallest receivers to play the game, which of course is the joke,” the brand told AdFreak in a statement. “Besides, these ads obviously take place in an alternative reality, something our viewers understand. The feedback we’re getting is the vast majority enjoy them.”
Still, it’s hard to imagine that Grey and DirecTV couldn’t have anticipated that there would be at least some backlash, especially given the response to “Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe.” Going forward, it would make sense for them to more closely consider the potential criticism and decide if it’s worth it. For the lazy joke at the heart of this spot, it probably wasn’t.