Deutsch Releases Final Spots for DirecTV

LOS ANGELES The last two DirecTV spots from Interpublic Group’s Deutsch/LA broke today nationwide.

The agency lost the account last week to BBDO when the client consolidated creative, direct marketing and media buying within Omnicom-owned shops [Adweek, March 1].

“I can tell you this: The Deutsch ads were doing a great job of acquiring new subscribers,” said Neal Tiles, executive vice president of marketing at DirecTV, El Segundo, Calif. “The fact that there was no review is proof that the change was not done out of dissatisfaction. We weren’t looking to solve a problem.”

The new 30-second executions star Joan Cusack and Robert Duvall reading letters from DirecTV subscribers. Cusack gives a ditsy performance in reading a letter from a fan enamored of the word “Great!” In the Duvall spot, a subscriber finds qualities in someone from customer service that he wishes he could see in his wife, leading the actor to wonder if the subscriber is not a little “confused.”

“The vision of the campaign is that the spots would be at their best when you can’t imagine anyone else reading the letter,” said Eric Hirshberg, managing partner and executive creative director at Deutsch, Marina del Rey, Calif. “There’s an instantaneous tonal match with the personae. Cusack gives the ‘It’s great! It’s great!’ that slightly unhinged, manic quality, and Duvall comes off as the concerned Southern gentleman.”

Hirshberg said he was particularly disappointed to lose the DirecTV business since the campaign was well regarded by the client. The company announced that it added 405,000 net new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2003. “I look back on our four years with DirecTV as a satisfying client-agency relationship. And I think we had two or three stellar campaigns,” said Hirshberg. “It was a good run.”

DirecTV spent $160 million last year on ads, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.