After DirecTV provided us with belly laughs for months with commercials featuring Rob Lowe and his “creepy, weird, loser” alter ego with cable, DirecTV announced they will no longer be running the commercials series. The decision was made with much reluctance after the National Advertising Division, part of the Better Business Bureau, ruled that Comcast Corporation’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) complaints against the commercial series were indeed valid. The National Advertising Division also recommended nixing the slogan “Don’t be like this me. Get rid of cable and upgrade to DirecTV” from the commercials due to the fact it “conveyed a comparative and unsupportive superiority message”, according to the advertising watch dog.
While the commercials were entirely entertaining, from a business standpoint, Rob Lowe commercials really helped bring DirecTV out of a subscriber slump. During the third quarter of 2014, DirecTV announced they had lost 28,000 subscribers during this timeframe, Value Walk reported. During the fourth quarter of 2014, when the Rob Lowe series of commercials first started to air, DirecTV saw its new subscribers reach 149,000 for the quarter. Which is why DirecTV will appeal the ruling in an attempt to get the right to air the popular ads once again. While the commercials certainly hit home with consumers, DirecTV is anxious and hopeful to get Rob Lowe back on the airwaves.
While losing the advertisement was bad for DirecTV, it sheds light on an overall trend that is beginning to occur. Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish are the big players when it comes to cable/satellite TV service providers, they have dominated the marketplace for years, but their reign has been slowly diminishing. The “next big thing” is streaming TV from services such as Apple Inc. TV, Playstation Vue, etc. Many of these companies taking over have signed deals with big networks and now advertise their services as a “cord cutter” service that will prompt you to cancel your cable or satellite service.
With an industry that is clearly changing, this move shows that companies in this industry are struggling to get more customers and are being more aggressive with their tactics to do so.