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DirecTV Hannah and Her Horse

You’re hearing it here. I was wrong. For the last month, I’ve been extolling the virtues of the DirecTV Rob Lowe spots and thought its advertising agency, Grey Advertising, finally became an advertising agency that understood strategy. (Read my new blog about the New DirectTV Ads featuring Eli Manning and Tony Romo)

Well, maybe Grey isn’t so great, after all. DirecTV pulled the Rob Lowe spots when cable companies, specifically Comcast, complained that the spots were making unfounded claims. Of course, Comcast made the stink because the ads worked. If they didn’t, Comcast would’ve have cared because those claims have been made in previous DirecTV campaigns. It only cared because the campaign threatened its market share.

So what did DirecTV and Grey Advertising do to replace Rob Lowe? They replaced him with a talking horse.

This Hannah and Her Horse campaign is so awful I don’t even know where to begin. For one, there’s no counterpart to Hannah like there was in the Rob Lowe spots where the two identities gave viewers a (albeit, humorous) choice. There’s no sense whatsoever of viewer identification.

In fact, what happens here is that the talking horse is the story. Not the prospective DirecTV customer. The campaign is similar, in a way, to the non-stop series of GEICO ads in which supposedly funny off-the-wall characters chime in on the insurance company’s virtues with little effect. (GEICO has to keep spending all that money on advertising to protect its market share because it hasn’t gained much in some years.)

But at least GEICO has a strategy (price), as ineffective as it is. The DirecTV Hannah and Her Horse campaign has none. It’s just stupid.

The really disturbing part of Hannah and Her Horse

There is also another aspect to this that deeply disturbs me. I always wondered why DirecTV acted so quickly to Comcast’s complaints by dropping the Rob Lowe spots when it wasn’t required to. Comcast only complained to an industry body, not a regulatory one.

Well, now we know why. DirecTV already had the Hannah and Her Horse campaign ready to replace it. It was in the can, all set to go. This isn’t just one ad. This is a whole campaign with a handful of ads. That means DirecTV (and Grey) were already planning on replacing Rob Lowe.

This is the GEICO strategy where ad campaigns are just funny skits without a strategy or a pay-off of the brand promise. It’s just money and time wasted.

Hannah and Her Horse just makes me think that neither DirecTV nor Grey Advertising even knew what they had with the Rob Lowe spots or even why they worked.

They had it. And now they’ve lost it.

16 thoughts on “DirecTV Hannah and Her Horse

  1. I find the girl and horse disturbing on a different level. My husband and I both immediately thought of Tijuana “donkey” shows. The beautiful, but scantily clad, lady riding horseback and the horse talking about getting into the “entertainment” business in Tijuana really just turned out stomachs.

  2. The Hannah and Her Horse commercials are so dumb I think my brain is rotting. I could write a better commercial than any of them

  3. This campaign is one of the worst I have ever seen. It uses two of the most tired devices in advertising: T&A and lame cliches. Any boob can make ads out of cliches. “Straight from the horses mouth.” Seriously??? “Get your goat.” Come on… This is the kind of crap that laypeople create when you ask them to be creative.

    I don’t much care for the shameless and blatant use of T&A, but cliches??? Guh…

  4. It’s implying bestiality and they are totally disgusting and highly offensive! Shame on DirecTV and their heinous ad agency!!! Viewers and DirecTV customers should protest! Glad I chose TWC!

  5. My first viewing of the Hannah and her Horse ads was totally negative, and my opinion has gone downhill since then. The horse’s voice and accent are as repulsively annoying as that tired gecko, and based on the third installment, they might as well drop the horse (and the goat) and just call it Hannah and her Boobs.
    The Rob Lowe ads were silly but entertaining, and we looked forward to each new one. The ludicrous way in which Lowe poked fun at himself, and seeing him in the various guises, was clever, and you really didn’t pay attention to the claims. If it was DirecTV’s plan to replace them with the Ninny and her Nag all along, I’m seriously thinking of dropping my DirecTV account.

  6. My husband and I both feel the horse & Hannah commercials are disgusting. It insinuates preverse donkey shows….strip clubs and the such in Tijuana. This is a morality issue. Rob Lowe’s commercials were humorous. No comparison. I hold directv’s customer service with a grade A….its excellent! To see this campaign is the lowest. Directv owes apologize’s all around.

  7. After watching the tv commercial with a girls boobs hanging out .. showing all of our young girls that that is what they need to do because sex sells right? How degrading!! You have made a choice for our family and friends much easier…. I am absolutely going to have DISH installed instead!! What is wrong with you people??? You think it will help you get sales .. well guess what .. 4 our of 5 people I have talked to have just the opposite attitude on that commercial than what you people expected. It is trash and so is Direct TV!

  8. I’d rather look at Hannah Way more then Rob. who ever really listens to what they say on any freaking commercial anyway. I seen Hannah on a commercial along time ago .I remember her but not anything else.see my point.I think I love you Hannah..need more Hannah,less horse & goat, etc…

  9. Depicting women in such a manner is repulsive. Is this type of advertisement necessary these days? Especially as a company as big as Direct TV who should try to work a little more intelligently at including the family as a whole. Come on now. Is this the best your advertising department could do? Lame. Stale. And not to mention will make me take a look at other competitive companies as my contract expires in a few more months. Try to think outside the box in a more tactful manner.

    1. I agree how the Hannah commercials are offensive to women. These commercials definitely don’t inspire me to switch to Direct TV at all and if I had Direct TV, I would switch companies because of these commercials.
      Please yank these commercials and put something on that’s more appropriate.

  10. I found this article because I searched for “direct tv Hannah awful”! After fast forwarding through them endlessly while watching the tour de france, I wanted to find out who was responsible for making them and what DTV was thinking? It was annoying and disturbing to watch these ads with my 10 year old daughter, who probably put it best when she said, “I would never get DirectTV after watching this. They didn’t nail the ad, they just ruined horses for everyone!”

  11. I think the T&A is a HUGE turnoff to families who in fact aren’t stupid to subscribe to a company that puts out such base commercials that are in fact offensive to the women who are probably in control of which service a family chooses.

    I hope they lost a lot of money AND customers. My 11 & 14 year old daughters were disgusted justifiably by the ads. Blatant use of women as objects. No humor.

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