DirecTV Ridicules Cable Users as ‘Settlers’ in Frontier-Themed Ads

But the concept feels dusty already

DirecTV: the final frontier?

A bunch of "Settlers"—a modern suburban family dressed like the cast of Little House on the Prairie—settle for cable rather than DirecTV in Grey's latest ads for the satellite service.

In "Neighbors," Sonny Boy asks Pops why they have to put up with cable's lower customer satisfaction while the folks next door enjoy DirecTV. Dad tells the scamp to go churn some butter and make his own clothes:

"Satisfaction" shows the family's TV setup—a '70s-era (1970s, not 1870s) set with a wonky-looking cable box. Dad equates cable with life's simpler pleasures … like faceless dolls, cabbages and foot stomping:

The work's time-tripping humor connects, though the tech-phobic Settlers seem more like Amish folks than pioneers. (Asked about that, a DirecTV rep tells AdFreak: "These ads take place in an alternate reality and aren't meant to be taken literally.") 

Still, ultimately these one-joke spots feel like placeholders while the client searches for a worthy, longterm successor to its "Versus" campaign with Rob Lowe.

Its recent cable merger-themed spots (starring Jeffrey Tambor and Fred Willard, with Grey reviving an old concept from Deutsch) and ads with various football stars (Petite Randy Moss, Eli Manning) flew right by. And we expect "The Settlers" to quickly fade into history.

And not soon enough. Perhaps DirecTV should settle on one concept and allow it to evolve over time.