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When DirecTV comes under fire, it’s usually because contract disputes are keeping it from airing something. But the satellite service is now getting bullied because of something it HAS been airing, namely those goofy Rob Lowe ads, which Comcast has formally complained about to the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division. Because everyone knows if there’s a company out there that isn’t completely full of shit, it’s multiple Worst Company in America winner Comcast, right?
The NAD’s case against the ads, which have been extremely successful for DirecTV, involve what they say are unsubstantiated claims in many of the different versions. Here are several of the problems they had.
1. Creepy Rob Lowe: The claims that DirecTV’s signal is so much more reliable than cable.
2. Far Less Attractive Rob Lowe: The implication that DirecTV’s picture and sound quality are far superior to cable. (Especially when DirecTV’s 1080p doesn’t apply to everything.)
3. Painfully Awkward Robe Lowe: The “facts” that DirecTV has ranked higher than cable in customer satisfaction and customer service for over ten years.
4. Scrawny Arms Rob Lowe: The claims that DirecTV’s sports packages have so many more games than cable packages.
They go on from there. Check out the sports one below to remind yourself how silly and admittedly one-sided the commercials are, which is part of the NAD’s problem with them.
So what this comes down to is the NAD wanting DirecTV to remove the unqualified claims from their commercials and for the sports package commercial to convey the price that actually reflects what the package costs. (Quite a different argument from the folks who complained about the Lowe that couldn’t pee in front of people.) Luckily for DirecTV, its marketing team was already planning on pulling the ads after the end of the first quarter of 2015, replacing it with Hannah Davis ads. Still, they don’t agree with the NAD’s claims, and they plan on appealing, according to TheWrap. I'm betting they take specific aim at Comcast in a future promo as well.
What can’t be argued is how successful the commercials were for DirecTV. In the quarter before the ads started running, the satellite company lost 28,000 subscribers overall. When the ads started airing, it brought in a whopping 149,000 customers, which was a dramatic increase over the same time period a year previous. The damage is already done, so we’ll have to wait and see if anything big ends up playing out.