DirecTV Hannah and Her Horse
Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
17 April 2015
Tell me the strategy here
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.
Too much customer service Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 21 June 2018 Too much customer service is a real thing I’ve said this before, but I gotta say it again. Too much customer service drives me bat-shit crazy. Not surprisingly, Best Buy kills me with this....
Dow Jones ousts GE Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 20 June 2018 Dow Jones kicks out GE. Now what? In 1896, the stock market adds GE as one of Dow Industrial Average’s first companies. As of June 26th of this year, it will no longer be part of the DJIA. I typically...
Tim Cook is leading the way Tom Dougherty, CEO - Stealing Share 19 June 2018 Apple CEO Tim Cook Tim Cook. Apple Act 2. Like everyone else, I worried about Apple’s succession plan. I was a died-in-the-wool member of the Steve Jobs cult. I was not sure what to make of...