Thursday, July 26, 2007

Back to the stupid

If there's one thing DirecTV knows, it's how to sell television services. And that way is... clips of movies from the mid-80s.



This commercial is useless. It contains one legitimate piece of information in a 30-second span. Even worse, that piece of information is something that doesn't even exist yet!

Doc Brown: "Great Scott! I forgot to tell Marty when he gets back to the future, he needs to get DirecTV HD!"

The "future" in Back to the Future is 1985, so this would be a pretty impressive feat on Marty's part. I also like the way Doc works in the movie's title (just in case you're one of the five people who hasn't seen it), not to mention the way that Doc goes from 1985 Christopher Lloyd to 2007 Christopher Lloyd and DirecTV apparently thinks we won't notice. Hopefully they don't run this commercial on any HD channels, lest viewers get caught up in endless liver-spot counting games.

Doc: "They already have all the best channels..."

Does this mean anything? No. It means nothing. Are there cable systems that don't have "the best channels," even in HD? Also, I'm still not convinced we're at the point where there are enough HDTV channels to justify spending thousands on an actual set, unless you're one of those gotta-have-it early adopters.

Doc: "...and soon they'll have three times more HD capacity than cable!"

So, uh, when is that going to be exactly? Oh. Soon. Well, that clears it all up.

Would you like to know an advantage of cable? Everyone can get it. DirecTV, on the other hand, doesn't work in some places because of the satellite signal (although estimates vary rather widely on how many households are incapable of getting it). But when you have a 20 percent share of the multichannel market like DirecTV, I guess you have to resort to... um... ads that talk up something you will eventually have.

Doc: "It's impossible? Ha! That's what they said about my flux capacitor!"

I'm not sure, but I don't know if you want to be comparing your high-tech gadgetry to time travel. Maybe you could have worked in, I don't know, another actual claim about your product, rather than pointing out how claiming more HD channels is impossible is akin to claiming time machines are impossible. Especially since that second part? Totally accurate. Although who knows, we might have time machines soon.

Announcer who sounds oddly pleased with himself: "For a future of 150 HD channels, get DirecTV."

Awesome! Too bad we have no idea when DirecTV will have all those channels. Nor do I think DirecTV can be sure that cable won't also be increasing its HD capacity in the near future - am I really supposed to believe that there will be 100 DirecTV-only HD channels? DirecTV has 16.2 million subscribers, which is certainly a robust number but dwarfed by the 60 million households with regular cable. And yet, there will be 150 HD channels on DirecTV and 50 on cable? Who is going to be producing these 100 channels? The math makes no sense. Are 80 of the 100 going to be HD closeups of fish tanks?

The dumbest thing about this series of ads is that most of them feature scenes pulled out of movies; I think I've seen four movie-derived ones and two TV-derived ones - and even then, one of the TV-based spots featured a show that's been off the air for years (Baywatch). Because what's more awesome than watching 20-year-old movies on cable? Watching 20-year-old movies on satellite, bitches! DirecTV! More movies you already own on DVD anyway than cable!

3 comments:

c12h22o11 said...

100 fish tanks would be better than most of the crap they've got on now.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

DirecTV HD Channels 112-119 (in future) :
112 Showtime Yule Log
113 Showtime Yule Log 2
114 Showtime Yule Log Classic
115 Showtime Yule Log Kids
116 Showtime Yule Log Latino
117 Showtime Yule Log Xtreme
118 Showtime Yule Log Rockumentaries
119 TBS

Dominic said...

I love how they brag about the quality of their programing being "100% digital quality" like it's an adjective or something. Their compression is so high that anything you watch that is dark, or low lit scenes, looks like it's playing on real player in 1998. That includes their awesome HD.