As I continue to see the commercials, I can’t help but respect what DirecTV is doing for its brand right now with the split personality Rob Lowe campaign. The new messaging is not so much about saving dollars and more channels as it is about the customer who chooses to buy DirecTV.
In the past, the entire category has sold only the product. In my market, Time Warner Cable is all about numbers of channels, on-demand options and bundling your cable with a VOIP telephone line and Internet access. AT&T U-verse sells pretty much the same thing. But none of the brand messages have any resonance. There is no brand because there is no attitude in the campaigns, and there is no self-identification.
DirecTV is different. The DirecTV Rob Lowe campaign is just a little bit campy and quite confident because it is a little cool too. The casting of Rob Lowe was a stroke of genius because his manicured persona fits perfectly in the brand’s brashness and hipster attitude. Rob speaks to the amenities and benefits of DirecTV but does it in character so that the real message is to be cool and not a jerk.
But what makes Lowe’s presence so effective is the brand’s understanding that we buy things that we believe are a reflection of ourselves. DirecTV decided to take off the gloves and get right to the point. We have a choice of two Rob Lowes. We decide we are, for example, who peaked in high school (and has cable TV) or one that is happily successful in the present.
So we have a choice. Which Rob Lowe should we strive to be? Confident Rob Lowe or Painfully Shy Rob Lowe? Should we be Rob Lowe or Super Creepy Rob Lowe?
The kicker is that, in the ending when Rob asks us not to be like this me and upgrade to DirecTV, they let us know that it is an upgrade, both in personality and brand choice. Smart stuff.