Monday, November 10, 2008

DirecTV Please Make It Stop


Maybe the connection to the movie is just too strong. Maybe it's fact that many years have passed since "National Lampoon's Vacation" was originally released.

Or, maybe it's simply the fact that the same commercial is being pounded unmercilessly into the NASCAR TV viewers' brains to the point of insanity.

TDP emailers have suggested everything from an online petition to a march on the DirecTV headquarters. For some reason, DirecTV has ended the rotation of its themed commercials and has endlessly hammered NASCAR fans with Christie Brinkley as "the red Ferrari girl" in the swimming pool for the past several weeks.

While DirecTV certainly is trying hard to sell NASCAR fans home satellite dish service, there has to be a point in time where even the most entry-level advertising executive recognizes that enough is enough. This is that point.

It is always nice to see Chevy Chase on the screen, but how many times can you watch a guy take his pants off and jump in a pool? Chase is now 65 years old and Brinkley is in her mid-50's. The idea for the commercial was great and that is exactly why it is such a shame that it is now the most annoying NASCAR TV commercial or promo in history.

There has been a lot of competition in that category over the last two seasons. Smiling Bob and his permanent Enzyte grin were running neck-and-neck with TNT's The Closer and Saving Grace. Just so fans can begin gearing-up for next season, all new episodes of Saving Grace start on TNT in March so the series can be in full-swing by the time that NASCAR returns to that network.

Over the next six days there will be one of the heaviest loads of NASCAR TV programming ever produced by the NASCAR TV partners. ESPN2, SPEED, ESPN Classic and ABC will combine to offer over 40 hours of on and off-track programs. There is no doubt that the push to sell home satellite service to NASCAR fans will be in full swing.

So, perhaps the DirecTV executives might take pity on the fans over the next week and offer some other commercial spots before Brinkley and Chase turn into the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" of NASCAR.

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60 comments:

glenc1 said...

quite honestly...while I have tired of Christie, the 'saved by zero' ads are driving me stark raving mad...

Also, I noticed last week that smilin' Bob is baaaaaaaaaaaaack...

TexasRaceLady said...

"Save, Buy, Zero" is my biggest peeve --- with Christie is a close second.

Ari in DC said...

Here Here!!! I could not agree more! Thank god for tivo or these commercials could very likely drive me MAD!

Adam T. Martin said...

At least it isn't the "cashew woman" Planters commercial.

Lou said...

I have been a Direct TV customer since September 2001. And a Hotpass subscriber since day one. And even I cringe when I see the commerical. Enough is enough. Although I do enjoy the Direct TV commericals w/the Manning brothers. A couple of them are too funny.

glenc1, I also noticed smilin Bob is back. I do not think I can tell you on this post why that is so. But you may be suprised when you find out as to why he is still "smilin".

Photojosh said...

The Zero ads bother me much more.

What's weird is that Direct TV has a bunch of other ads in that series (where they use old movies and whatnot). And as a whole, they aren't bad commercials at all.

But I'm not sure why NASCAR fans are stuck with just this single one.

Dot said...

I agree with the saved by zero ad campaign also. Not only are there fewer racing programs this year, there hasn't been any really good racing commls either. Except Marcos and Little Debbie. Yeah, I'm partial.

If DirecTV was smart they would show their racing feature Hot Pass during the races. At least it would be racing related and people without it might subscribe for next season.

I think the Vacation spot is better than the Poltergeist one. That one is really in bad taste.

@ glenc1, when did you see our friend Bob? I thought he got spanked by the FTC?

Photojosh said...

I'm an Ambrose fan, but the Little Debbie one with Ken Schrader was WAY better. The one that ended with the cardboard cutout driving the car.

alex said...

This doesn't even bother me, because by comparison it has nothing on "Saved by Zero". That's the first commercial I can think of where I hold the remote in hand so I can change channels immediately when it comes on. If I'm too late and hear the beginning of it, that damn jingle is in my head all day long. While certainly annoying, at least the Directv commercial is one that doesn't make me want to jump out a window when it comes on.

Anonymous said...
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Ben in NC said...

I gotta challenger.....the two idiots sitting on a "love seat" getting splashed by oil acting like hippies from 1968...yeah bro.....it's funny till it happens to you...yeah and your company sponsers the Force family. And this is what you come up with for race fans? My 2 cents.

Sophia said...

what is save buy zero?? Can't remember it unless I blocked it out...but direct tv is giving me a Christie and Chevy hangover.

I LOVED the Kenny schrader cut out driving the car commercials, too...

Also that 'Danger' guy that starts to drive a car off a ramp and gets hit with oil...dumb but the delivery by that actor in the commercial "How far'd I go?" Cracks me up or at least makes me smile. They have mentioned it on TWIN.

:)

Dot said...

@ Sophia, Saved by Zero is the Toyota comml about financing. I believe the song is from the 80s.

Karen said...

alex said...

"Saved by Zero". If I'm too late and hear the beginning of it, that damn jingle is in my head all day long.

Thanks for bringing that up. I now can't get it out of my head either.

Bill H said...

In my best Foghorn Leghorn, "Nuthin, I say Nuthin" beats the eTrade Baby commercials.

I'm getting a clown!

Anonymous said...

Neither ad bothers me, because I don't listen to ABC/ESPN's audio anyway--I'm listening to MRN/PRN.

Get that, ABC? You've annoyed me so much with your bad talent (that point's been hashed over a million times), that I'm not even hearing your commercials anymore.

Steve28 said...

I, too, mute the sound when I watch a NASCAR race. I am much more interested in my team's radio communications so I stay plugged in through the scanner feature on nascar.com. This way, I'm hardly ever subjected to the annoying commercials. Even so, I have seen the "saved by zero" ad enough to make me want to throw a brick through the tv. Then only time I turn the sound up is when they interview a driver after an incident or to see what caused a caution.

When are companies such as DirecTV, Toyota, Pennzoil, Castrol, etc. going to realize that there are diminishing returns with these ads?

Say it with me: "I change my oil. Why worry about engine sludge?"

ugh

glenc1 said...

I thought it was just me with the Toyota ads but obviously not, lol. I figured it would be a 'limited time only' deal, but it's still going on and on and on...

I know these things pay for our coverage, but as we've noted before, it's the repetitive nature that gets people. I would never get Directtv for philosophical reasons (I have DISH) but that ad sure wouldn't make me want it. TO be honest, I thought the Jessica Simpson/Dukes one was kinda cute ('I totally don't know what that is, but I want it')

Dot, I think I saw Smiling Bob on SPEED (I believe that was his usual home...and probably channels like G4...) The owner of the company was in legal trouble (detailed by JD a while back) but there wasn't a direct relationship to the product, if I recall right.

And Ben is right--the sludge ads--enough already...

Happymom said...

I agree about the Saved By Zero ads! Too, too much! During the week before the elections, I swear we had a pattern here in PA (proud to be a battleground state!) of 3 political ads, one Saved By Zero, and 2 more political ads. Almost nothing but those! It was almost a relief when the Vacation ad came on instead!

My husband is conditioned to change the channel every time that darn Zero commercial comes on; otherwise he has to deal with a maniacal wife for the duration!

glenc1 said...

btw, I totally agree with Dot on the Poltergeist one...very bad taste. Most people who remember the movie also remember that the child in it died tragically young, I was quite surprised to see this one even made. Anything for a buck, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Okay, maybe I missed something here. Doesn't the sponsor buy commercial time for the product?

Whether the station agrees or not, they have to show the commercial.

And isn't the purpose of a commercial to keep that product in the front of your brain? Isn't that where the term "brain-washed" comes from?

I cringe at most of the commercials and want to take a well-aimed kick at smilin' Bob - he is soooo pathetic!!!

Funny thing, but the purpose of the commercials is to get us to watch or buy the product - and instead they're sending me off to join their competitors. I like the word "boycott"....

Dan said...

Gotta love the DVR. Watched the entire race in an hour and 45 minutes and didn't have to put up with a single commercial or any of the mindless red flag fill. While additional online content (scanners, RaceBuddy, etc.) during the race looks interesting, in my opinion the downside of having to be a couch potato all afternoon/evening long and being subjected to the barrage of advertising in order to get that content far outweighs any added value.

Anonymous said...

Your blog post is music to the advertisers' ears. Do you know how many ad groups want you to get so annoyed by a commercial that you recognize it within 1 second of beginning?

Not sure why THIS repeat ad has you so annoyed. The Tylenol commercial with Kevin Harvick saying "Maybe try a new girlfriend" has been played 100x as much as the Christie Brinkley one. I guess that's okay because it is Cup drivers. But I found it much more annoying because the joke - hilarious the first time you saw it - was as stale as two-week-old bread after 7-8 weeks of running that ad mercilessly.

How about Carl Edwards having the duck drive his car? Or how about the country singers making up an impromptu song about Viagra? How about that commercial for the tools where the guy has his head in the car and won't take it out? How about the ad with Tony Stewart climbing up the fence into outer space?

The simple fact is that most of the ads repeat over and over to death. Not sure why THIS one has you so riled up, but again, I suspect this is music to the advertiser's ears.

Anonymous said...

PS I don't have DirectTV and I see this commercial constantly, so it isn't the fault of your content provider.

Anonymous said...

Your blog post is music to the advertisers' ears. Do you know how many ad groups want you to get so annoyed by a commercial that you recognize it within 1 second of beginning?

None.

They buy commercial ad time to convince you to buy their product or service.

If you don't do this, they couldn't care less if you "know" their spot or how much "buzz" it gets.

If you get so annoyed that you vow NOT to buy their product or service then their money is wasted.

glenc1 said...

it's only music to the advertisers ears if it makes you buy the product...When it makes you NOT want to buy it...well...not sure how successful that is vs. the cost. Frankly, many ads that are played over and over and over--it's very possible that I don't even remember who it's for (cars, for example, I just can't remember which ads are for Lexus or Mercedes or whatever...probably because I would never buy a car from advertising...) For that matter, I don't really buy much of anything because of an ad, unless it makes me aware of a new product (probably not what the networks want to hear, lol--I find the snob appeal ads particularly obnoxious.). I'm a 'research' kind of person if I'm ready to buy something significant. But it must work on some people or they wouldn't do it.

cncspd said...

I am not a fan of DTV and this spot does not help.
DTV has had lip-sync issues on live events for many years now and they have not done anything to fix it. I now it is only two or three frames off but it really bugs me.

cncspd said...

...that's "know" not now

Anonymous said...

Hey, I agree that they play the Christie Brinkley ad a lot, but to the point that people are not going to want to buy their product? I don't think so. As someone above pointed out with examples -- there are a bunch of ads that run non-stop to the point of annoyance. Are you really going to stop taking Tylenol because Kevin Harvick's girlfriend joke becomes annoying to the point you have to mute your TV? I don't think so.

majorshouse said...

I think I hate the Toyota one worse than the one with Christie Brinkley and the Planter's cashew commercial is just in plain bad taste and I have hated it from day one.

jojaye said...

I am in agreement on Christie & Chevy comm'l. for most annoying because its run locally here too. So we get a double hit of both Christie/Chevy & followed by Saved by Zero. The tie for second most annoying comm'l is the one made locally for Bill Currie Ford or Lincoln Mercury same ad different cars.

Comm'ls have run to many times when you can lip sync to them
Help us Direct TV & Saved by zero! Change those comm'ls!
Just don't add the planters chick or the horseydud

speedangel said...

There is a belief among some advertisers that believe running "annoying" ads sometimes with the purpose of just burning the advertisers name into your head is OK. Anyone remember the Head On commercials (Head On. Apply directly to the forehead...)? That was done to establish the brand in consumers' heads. Then the messaging changed when their agency (probably) felt that their awareness was at a level they comfortable with proceeding the next phase in the campaign. So theoretically when the annoyance has shifted to another brand/product, their name is still implanted in the consumers' head. I don't necessarily agree with that thought process in advertising, but I know it's out there.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the Head On spots a billion times.

I have yet to purchase Head On.

Were you convinced to buy Head on by those ads?

ken said...

The endlessly repeated and annoying ads works for me except in the reverse. If an ad annoys me by being in bad taste or oversaturation, I cross that named product off my shopping list and make sure I buy from the competition. I have no intention of supporting something that annoys me regardless of whether I want the product or not.

speedangel said...

Like I said, I don't agree with all methods of advertising. I just know that they're out there.

Scott Ensink said...

Having a DVR with a skip-ahead button works well to cut out these commercials.

Except when they switch the race to another channel.

Not sure I'll even bother to watch Homestead. Hate to invest 2 hours of my time only to miss the conclusion of the race.

glenc1 said...

I guess we're a little behind--some guy on Facebook apparently created a site dedicated to asking Toyota to stop running the ads...something about throwing viewers into a murderous rage...

you know, I have a DVD recorder with commercial skip but I couldn't be bothered. I don't just 'couch potato' races, I'm usually doing other things while they're on--I think it would bother me more not seeing things in real time (when possible.) So I just flip away for a minute or leave the room to do something else...

Anonymous said...

From TampaBay.com:

The hatred of the ad campaign, which seems to appear nonstop during any sporting event on TV, is growing. The fervor on the Internet has reached top volume with blogs and Facebook.com groups all calling for its end.

Count The Fixx in with the naysayers.

Cy Curnin, the band's lead singer and co-founder, recently told The Las Vegas Sun that while he likes the royalty checks and the new attention on The Fixx, the quality of the recording itself disturbs him.

"It's a bit cheesy. I would prefer to have been the one singing it," Curnin told The Sun says during a phone interview from his farm in France. It's also ironic that the automaker chose this particular tune, Curnin says, because the song's message seems contrary to the ad's purpose.

"The song was written from the point of view of the release you get when you have nothing left to lose. It clears your head of all fears and panics and illusions and you get back to the basics, which is a Buddhist mantra, which I practiced back then, and which I still do," he said. "The idea of the song is how great it is to get back to zero."

Sicklajoie said...

I'm surprised no one's mentioned the Kasey Kahne / Allstate ads. Those got old real quick.

jojaye said...

@anon103 -
Thanks too ironic the Fixx doesn't like it & the ad agency didn't get the song LOL
Good Marketing tool - nothing left to lose.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one's mentioned the Kasey Kahne / Allstate ads. Those got old real quick.

They stopped making them too soon.

Note that NAPA brings out new spots throughout the whole season.

alex said...

glenc1,
I joined that facebook group a few weeks ago. It's not bad on racing, but during a football game that ad is played 5-7 times. I tend to watch 5 or 6 football games in a weekend, and it really adds up quick.

glenc1 said...

I thought the first Ron Capps one was funny with the hand slapping. The other two just aren't funny. I think we'll all be glad to retire Alltel's 'Chad'--and goodbye Young Guns....

Yet I still find the Joey/Tony one amusing. In fact, the HD ads have historically held up well ("Zippy, run for your life!") Just better marketing people, I guess.

Geez, JD can get us going about the commercials anytime. Good for us to vent every so often...

glenc1 said...

Alex, I watch football too so I'm getting the double dose as well. Apparently sporting events are their main focus...

Dot said...

I just saw our friend Smilin' Bob on the Comedy channel. Now it's a topical application? No wonder it works better.

Thanks to all the Vets.

glenc1 said...

Dot, I did a little research and apparently Berkeley (the Enzyte company) filed for bankruptcy in September...down to about 200 employees from a big force at one point...unfortunate for the ones who got laid off, but perhaps they're trying to stop from going under completely. To be honest, I didn't even notice that the 'product' had changed, lol.

Anonymous said...

Smilin' Bob's bosses (the company owners) got big ol' fines and prison time for lying about their product.

Do they still use a pciture of the #50 Busch-series car (Regan Smith, 2004) with their logo to promote Enzyte?

Gymmie said...

I've seen Smiling Bob recently as well...I think it was Comedy Central

@photojosh--yes that one is adorable! I love the cut out one...but Koala's are cute so it has a special spot for me :). But of course Schrader can stand there and he'd have me rolling! He's a hot mess!

@dot & glen--yes that's why I cringed about the Poltergiest one...and from what I understand she didn't have to die. It was a misdiagnosis :(

We have one local with a person "imitating" a political figure as if he were having some sort of rally. It's for some car dealership and I was annoyed from the gate on that one.

Except for racing, I pretty much miss commercials since I watch everything off the DVR but still have to see them as I whiz by.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one's mentioned those awful spots for the Teddy Bear company that run during Speedweeks. By the end of the Rolex race I want to get a bear and shred it.

Anonymous said...

I don't recall a Teddy Bear company spot. Is it local to your market?

Sophia said...

I agree the Poltergeist was especially in poor taste since that little girl died...can't remember the mis dx but I think it was either kidney failure or septic poisoning

EDIT: Just found her cause of death,
Heather O'Rourke
, 12-year-old actress who played Carol Anne in the three Poltergeist movies, died in 1988 after what doctors initially described as an acute form of a flu but later changed it to a septic shock after bacterial toxins invaded her bloodstreams.

I am stunned Enzyte stuff is still on the air since a local office of their's was in the news months ago...owner will see prison time but his mother will not allegedly due to poor health, last I heard.

Gymmie said...

@anon 5:08--the Teddy Bear commercial is for the Vermont Teddy Bear company pumping up for Valentine's Day. The M.O. is ladies in an office gushing over the cute bear and a guy getting that as his idea for a V Day gift for his sweetie. And of course they let you know how easy and convenient it is to order from them :). I don't think it's the same company, but they also have Pajama Grams comm'ls on the overkill as well.

Dot said...

@ Anon 3:23, Yes the car is still in the ad. Thank you for reminding me who the team was. I guess they can still use it, but I don't know why. Isn't THAT false advertising making people think that they're still involved in racing?

glenc1 said...

I'll still never forget LaJoie talking about that car--his kids thought Smilin' Bob was funny but 'they don't know why he's smiling...'

Thanks Sophia--I remembered it was a puzzle to the doctors but not the details. Just poor to use that one when there are other ideas they could have used; it bugged me every time I saw it.

speaking of teddy bears--the Travelodge ones are getting pretty old as well. And whoever of you described the Waltrip/Best Western one as creepy the last blog like this was soooooooo right...I think we're probably feeling the 'end of the season' repetition too...once Speedweeks rolls around we'll be back with new ones...and we'll be sick of those in a month.

I won't miss Junior and the gorilla either..although thank goodness they finished up with ponytail girl in the Enterprise car.

Sophia said...

dot

Anycompany already accused of MAJOR fraud is probably not concerned about "false advertising" but that nascar team should be concerned.

:)

Newracefan said...

The Zero commercial hasn't bothered me but my guess is now that it's pointed out the jingle will get stuck in my head now too. The vacation commercial has been driving me crazy, it appears to be network and local or something because I swear there are times that I see it twice during a commercial break and almost every commercial break. That is the problem, a few times a race is one thing but this is ridiculous.

Gymmie said...

@glen--I've wondered how Mei Lee has been over the years...wonder if she's had to pick Jr. up latetly *giggle*

Anonymous said...

I have Direct TV, and I'm sick of that ad also. Thank God for the mute button, so I'm not subjected to the 'saved by zero' ads.

Dave S. said...

Most commercials are run on 6- or 13-week cycles. With economy, many companies are making only one ad, when they would make 2 or 3 in the past. In DirecTV ad, who knows how much they had to pay Christie to do a new voice-over.

It's annoying, yes; but that's how advertising works.

red said...

my sanity strategy as it relates to commercials, whether during races or just when i'm catching my favorite programs, is a liberal use of the mute button. i rarely listen to any commercial anymore: the majority are just insulting and i could feel myself get dumber each time i actually watched one.

so now, i just hit "mute" and my life is easier.

is it just me or was there actually a time, a few years back, when commercials during races were themed around drivers? and race cars? and silly stuff that may/may not actually ever happen at a track? i miss those commercials and i never muted them -- ever.

i agree with dave s: agencies are no longer being contracted to do a series of ads and so we get one ad for what seems like a verrryyyy long time. it's a matter of $$$ and so even the most creative ad (like the havick tylenol ad) gets wearisome.

and direct tv/christie brinkley has no chance.