The monster creative duel between Direct TV and Charter Spectrum

In Ad Creative, Memorable Marketing on February 25, 2018 at 5:23 pm

If you live in a “Charter Spectrum” area, you quite likely are familiar with the ad battle currently going on between the company and Direct TV. The latter has put extensive weight behind it’s campaign that attempts to make fun (or in my view, ridicule) those people who still “prefer cable.” In the process, they show an endless chain of poor mopes who, to support the metaphor, enjoy things like walking into glass doors, spilling hot coffee in their laps, getting poison ivy, or paper cuts on their tongues …you get the idea.

Meanwhile, Charter Spectrum has created a family of cliche’ horror movie monsters, including a mummy, an evil doctor, a killer dummy, the grim reaper, and several others. We enjoy their frustration when bad weather or other problems knock their Direct TV service off the air.  Many entertaining situations result, as we see the hideous group on the subway, during poker night, even trying to cut down a tree blocking their satellite signal.  

(My favorite version  features death himself trying to lead a game of charades to pass the time. He gets into a sarcastic exchange with the caustic little dummy, while the mild-mannered mummy and the simple-minded alien attempt to grasp the conversation.)

Marn’s Market is Back in Business

In Uncategorized on September 6, 2017 at 9:07 pm



Just a warning – I have allowed this blog to lie dormant for far too long. You don’t care about excuses and I don’t have time to make up any good ones!  But stay tuned: in the next few weeks, I’ll be talking about some recent industry topics, and talk about several ad campaigns currently running that I think deserve to be praised or panned. Among them:

Commercials like…..

  • The grade school teacher thinking about her vacation while the class runs rampant in the background
  • The pretentious Range Rover squad of thrill seekers escaping a dust storm and winding up on speeding watercraft
  • The return of  PuppyMonkeyBaby
  • “Enjoy the go.”
  • Subaru’s would-be hobos
  • The Most Interesting FAN in the World

Topics like…

  • The new six-second commercial unit
  • Emojis
  • When does new media stop being new?
  • Storytelling (what a concept!)

As always, I’d love you to get involved. Got an ad you love or hate, and want to hold it up to public scrutiny? Add a comment. Meanwhile, know that we’re in here stocking shelves with fresh merchandise and trying to resist the takeover bid from Amazon. Marn’s Market will reopen shortly!

No Turning Back on Bon Jovi DirectTV Campaign

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2016 at 11:28 am

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.