Is DirecTV’s ‘Poltergeist’ spot in bad taste?

DirecTV’s been celebrating memorable movies and TV shows in its ads for more than a year, getting Sigourney Weaver, Charlie Sheen, Pam Anderson and others to reprise classic roles and then break character to deliver a pitch. Some think the latest installment, a Halloween-timed spot with Craig T. Nelson and Heather O’Rourke from Poltergeist, is in bad taste, given that O’Rourke, who played Carol Anne, died tragically in 1988 at age 12. Check out the 37 comments on this SlashFilm item for a sense of the back-and-forth. Basically, some of the commenters feel it’s creepy and exploitative to use O’Rourke’s image for a marketing campaign. Others think Carol Anne is a classic character who shouldn’t be totally off-limits. One commenter named Chris claims to be from Deutsch, the agency behind the ads; he says O’Rourke’s mother approved the concept and thought the finished spot was "a wonderful tribute to her daughter." However you feel about the matter (I happen to think it’s perfectly in line with DirecTV’s established campaign and is about as non-gratuitous as you can get), you have to be thankful that SlashFilm’s readers aren’t the ones creating the ads. One of them, trying to be helpful, offers an even more offensive idea: "Don’t you think [they] could have come up with something from Coach?"

—Posted by Tim Nudd