D I R E C T V
Directv has created and is airing a sticky – to be more concise, “ICKY” – television commercial that only succeeds at showing a young couple in their loveless relationship. And the “zinger” line, aired by the male, is mean spirited and aimed at demeaning the woman. It suggests danger, discomfort and intimidation, not exactly positive qualities to connote by means of a television commercial. When I first saw this commercial, I was shocked and thought, “he didn’t just say that, did he? Yikes, this is one ugly and disturbing commercial.”
All publicity is good publicity.
Being bad is good for a reputation.
Hey, at least you remembered the commercial – you’re talking about it, aren’t you?
Yet I feel that these three sentences/sentiments do not apply to television commercials or a company’s reputation in the age of ubiquitous social media. It’s a hard enough proposition for a telecom to have a good reputation and associated good will without the company airing an ugly and disconcerting commercial.
This awful 30-second television commercial is so bad:
FIRST – There’s no music. Music should be in almost every TV/radio/Internet commercial as it can enhance the company or service’s message, as much as visual stimuli – art, photographs, video – can enhance text. (Notice the visual for this post.)
To move slightly off the subject and introduce something to explore later:
Music accompanying a television commercial should
a) herald the message (of the commercial)
b) be supportive of the message
c) reinforce the message, or best of all
d) be memorable so that when the music is heard again, the audience will conjure up the commercial
e) optimally, introduce a cool new music composition, style, musical artist, band or gangnam-like/macarena-like thing or other foolish fad
SECOND – these two young lovers (they were likely lovers in a distant time and galaxy) are at their worst and we the audience are watching the précis worst of their worst.
THIRD – the commercial opens with what looks to be the making of an Alfred Hitchcock-Janet Lee-Psycho type shower murder scene – the glass is foggy, and she is naked and cannot see the danger that is lurking just outside the shower.
FOURTH – the woman is vulnerable and frightened by an enormous bright billboard-like sign that is waiting for her as she exits the shower. The unrealistic large sign indicates…
“R E C O R D I N G C O N F L I C T”
FIFTH – now for the demeaning part. Shocked by and referring to the sign, the woman says, “OK I am sick of this thing!” He replies, “Hmm. Well, see we have cable and if it didn’t record your shows while I am recording my shows, we wouldn’t have to deal with this” (as he points to the huge sign). She replies, “I just feel like it’s watching me walk around naked.” He then stops brushing his teeth and delivers his zinger, “Well, at least somebody gets to.” He smirks, starts to brush extra hard and walks away. Meanwhile, she looks hurt by his callousness and stands frozen, tightly holding the towel around her body. Just before the scene fades, a message in white letters, “DON’T LIVE WITH CABLE’S CONFLICT BOX” is briefly displayed on the screen. Finally, an unseen new male VOICE says, “Upgrade to Directv and record five shows at once. Call 1-800-DIRECTV.”
The commercial has reminded us that a naked woman in a shower is in a potentially dangerous situation – how can Hitchcock’s “Psycho” not be implied? Instead of being murdered by a psychotic individual, an enormous psychotic sign is there to startle her. The only conversation after this is meant to belittle her – she doesn’t know enough about technology for the household, but if she did, the psycho sign wouldn’t be there to scare her coming out of the shower.
As an obnoxious bonus, we are reminded that as a lover, this woman is worse than she is a technophile – she is belittled because she does not know that Directv is better than cable. Finally, we are told that at least the scary sign is likely to see her naked – she is more receptive to the Big Brother Recording Conflict sign than the male in the house as he never gets to see her naked.
In this, the most expensive and media-saturated election period in United States history, we have heard several infamous, idiotic and sexist utterances from certain Republican male politicians including these sledge hammers:
“if it’s a legitimate rape, uh, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” (Todd Akin, R-MO)
“I came to realize that life is that gift from God and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” (Richard Mourdock, R-IN)
At any time in civilized society, this Directv commercial would have been inappropriate. But in this 2012 “legitimate rape” and “God intended to happen” election period, this Directv commercial is vile, offensive, more off base and ultimately more harmful than beneficial to the Directv brand.