Campaign Trail: DirecTV tackles NFL, ‘Real Housewives’ fandoms

    Campaign Trail is our analysis of some of the best new creative efforts from the marketing world. View past columns in the archives here.

    For consumers, watching TV has never been more complicated. Programming is increasingly fragmented, whether delivered via cable and satellite providers or subscription and ad-supported streaming platforms, each with another password to remember and often with a device to set up.

    DirecTV has positioned itself as the solution to these TV woes and billed itself as a provider that brings together what consumers want in one place. First launched last year, the provider’s “Get Your TV Together” campaign continued in August with a humorous spot that puts NFL players and cast members of the “Real Housewives” series on the same screen — and field.

    “In a very form-following-function way, we’ve definitely united fandoms that otherwise would have no business being in the same room together,” said Ryan Buckley, creative director at TBWAChiatDay LA, which worked on the campaign. “We’ve pointed out that both sides of the mashup actually have more in common than they ever would have thought — it’s a nice way to pay off the promise of the product.”

    “The Wives’ House” launched as a 30-second spot across linear TV with a long-form asset on digital and social channels. Along with cutdowns and digital placements, the campaign also features activations — including a Meta AR game, Snap filters and Reddit integrations — created by digital experience agency Critical Mass. 

    Show don’t tell

    The thinking behind the entire “Get Your TV Together” campaign has been twofold: for the ads to be as entertaining as the product promises, and to revive DirecTV’s legacy as “OG TV people” by tapping into TV fandom.

    “The idea of having everything all in one place — live and on-demand coming together — is quite functionally where that mashup idea came from,” said Jesse Unger, group strategy director and head of cultural influence lab at TBWAChiatDay LA

    The “Get Your TV Together” ads have used a similar set-up to deliver different mash-ups. A couple watching DirecTV flip between live and on-demand, until the two programs — Serena Williams playing tennis and the movie “Wonder Woman,” or baseball legends and “Ghostbusters” — merge into one. The show-don’t-tell approach has been key to a campaign that hopes to show the breadth of DirecTV’s offerings.

    “[DirecTV] really is the antidote to how absolutely insane the category has become,” said Unger. “Entertainment is supposed to be relaxing, joyful, indulgent, fun, and now you’re out here looking for passwords, borrowing links on the internet from strangers — I don’t even know where to watch the things anymore.”

    Since the first iteration of the campaign, TBWA has worked to bring together fandoms in a “one plus one equals three” fashion by scratching an itch that fans didn’t even know they had. In online comments, some consumers wonder why the mash-ups aren’t a show or movie already.

    “We always challenge ourselves to go beyond mashing a couple of things together just for the sake of doing it,” Buckley said. “We’re telling a larger story and creating new pop culture; it’s really something we shoot for every time.”

    In kind, the new spot brings together Dallas Cowboys stars Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb with fan favorites from the “Real Housewives” franchise including Teresa Giudice, Kyle Richards, and Kenya Moore that more than hold their own on the field. The creative finds unlikely connective tissue between football and reality TV — both have a brash and brazen spirit of competition — and expand on previous iterations of the campaign.

    “We needed to reach a bit of a broader audience,” Unger said. “Football and reality TV are two of the most passionate, active fandoms on the internet [so] why not use the power of that?”

    And while intentionally over-the-top, the campaign speaks to the reality of consumers’ experiences, whether a household is divided between the two fandoms or fans of each finally understanding their partners’ fandom.

    “Being able to capture the nuance of audience behavior and experience is where the beauty of the mashup comes from,” Unger said.


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