Okay, I was’t sure at first about the new DirectTV campaign, but now I am. The ability to go back to the start of a program via DVR doesn’t seem like all that big a deal given today’s plethora of available technologies. But in reflecting on the creative aspects of the commercials themselves, I’ve decided they are perfect for today’s circumstances.
You’ve seen the spots, unless you’ve pawned your TV until the election is over. In them, Jon Bon Jovi magically appears in the living rooms of people who are mourning the fact that they’ve missed the beginning of a show they wanted to watch. He sings a brief song that touts DirectTV’s ability to “turn back time” and restart the program on their schedule.
The song is actually good, and I’ve always enjoyed Bon Jovi, both from his music and his occasional TV acting appearances. The thing that gave me pause at first were some of the quirky, slightly dark examples written into song lyrics. In each spot, he proposes some other examples of what the general ability to “turn back time” would make possible.
In one spot, it is “…maybe reconsider having that second child” as we see said child scrawling on a wall with crayons – till he disappears. Hmmm…. a touch on the nasty side. In another spot, “the guy she liked before you” pops in and gets a bit too friendly with the wife.
In still another execution, we edge slightly further in a creepy direction as he sings “a chance to say goodbye to Grampy Tim” as a senior gentlemen suddenly joins the TV-watchers in the room, waving in a slightly “from beyond the grave” manner.
My slightly younger self probably would have launched a slam at these spots as insensitive, catering to a meaner spirit and taking serious things a bit too lightly. But I think these spots are exactly where “the line” is today; maybe they make some folks a bit uncomfortable, but the majority will see nothing wrogn with them. With the good song and the likable Bon Jovi involved (including a wry smile in each that seems to say “I’m only kidding here”) I ultimately pronounce this a quite successful campaign. I even think the song would have pretty good commercial potential, rewritten a bit.
I can’t speak to how important re-starting a program will be to most potential customers, but creatively, the campaign blends music, celebrity, and just-edgy-enough copy to be watchable without wearing out too quickly. (On that note, don’t get me started on the awful Charter spot in which we have to watch a guy – way too prominently – make sound effects with his mouth for far too long throughout a not-very-memorable jingle.) When I see that one, I wish I could turn back time to switch the channel before I had to see him again.