Every ad implicitly promises the audience that it is worthy of their attention. Ads are worthy of attention if they have news the audience wants or if the ads entertain. These ads have little news and fail in their attempt to entertain. Few will eagerly watch the ads more than once and even fewer will be eager to share the ads with their friends.
Rob Lowe is slick, not genuine. And Rob Lowe makes Direct TV seem slick, not genuine. Viewers have to be asking themselves “What’s below the polished surface Direct TV?”
If viewers are paying close attention, they realize that slick Rob Lowe personifies Direct TV and the version of Rob Lowe that makes them uncomfortable personifies cable. Unfortunately, viewers don’t pay close attention. Viewers simply experience Direct TV, personified by slick Rob Lowe, saying nasty things about cable and another version of Rob Lowe who is, for some reason, intentionally annoying. If the attempted jokes about the unappealing Rob Lowes were funny, viewers would have a better feeling about Direct TV. But rather than make viewers laugh, Direct TV gives viewers an awkward 30 seconds.
The Direct TV experience and the sins of cable offer wonderful raw material. But these ads waste it.