DirecTV, the nation’s largest satellite television provider, recently aired its newest “Don’t be like…” commercial this time featuring former NFL wide receiver Randy Moss.
The ad is similar in tone to the previously aired NFL focused ads featuring New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo, yet this time distinctively different regarding the undesired character trait focus of the ad.
In this DirecTV campaign, viewers are instructed not to be like the more socially repressed versions of the more publicly admired selves and they do so by signing-up for NFL Sunday Ticket with DirecTV.
But in the Manning ad, the two-time Super Bowl champion’s alter ego is a painful, obviously unfunny comedian. And the Romo spot contrasts the signal caller of one the most recognizable franchises in all sports, Dallas Cowboys with an “artsy-craftsy” version of his normal self.
Unfortunately, the humanistic flaw discouraged in the Moss ad is, well nothing more than being ‘petit,” or small. Physically. Short. Not tall.
The issue now is, the prior ads in this campaign, including the Rob Lowe ads that started it all, the relatable saps can simply change their behavior, wardrobe, social habits, or occupations, buy DirecTV and then be in the cool crowd. The same cannot be said for ones physical stature. Shorter people really have no way to “not be” short. And in most cases, why would they even want to?
I admit, there is some nice technology going on in the Moss spot as what drives the intended humor is that Moss is contrasted against a reduced, “petit” version of himself utilizing CGI to add Moss’s head to a much smaller body. Because Moss is tall. Real tall. See, that’s why its funny.
To drive the point home as the ad closes and Moss speaks the tagline of “don’t be like this me, get NFL Sunday Ticket with DirecTV the “petit” version of Moss is shown in the background trying to get his favorite cereal from a shelf much higher than “petit” Moss can reach. Again, that’s the joke. Shorter people can’t reach the top shelf, so it’s best not to be short or small. And have NFL Sunday Ticket.
The previous ads is this campaign draw comparisons to stereotypes of society that people should avoid emulating. Unfortunately, the “petit” trait being discouraged against in DirecTV’s newest spot really isn’t a defect at all.
Deep down inside the Moss ad is nothing more than a lazy attempt at harmless humor and that’s too bad because the prior ads in the campaign have all been pretty funny and original. And it was nice to see Moss in a national add with a humorous tone. He just deserved a much better creative concept.
But it’s not for me to decide what’s funny or acceptable or tasteful. So I’ll go with the Washington Redskins approach to approval…If you ask a Native American if they’re bothered by the name of the NFL team that plays in Washington and they say no, it must be ok for everyone.
And for now, I defer to DirecTV to ask anyone that’s “petit” if the ad is appropriate. If they say yes, then it must be good for all as well.