First off I want it made clear: I'm not knocking the DirecTV service, which I have used in the past and had no problems with. No, what I'm talking about is the room full of marketing whiz-kids who got together and decided that wedging their sales pitches into well-known movies would be a good idea. I've seen the ads mostly during sporting events: There's the T2 one, which is obnoxious but not all that offensive. There's the Back to the Future one, which really gets under my skin. And then there's the National Lampoon's Vacation one, which is played during (literally) EVERY break in the World Series. (Hey thanks, ad-makers, for ruining an otherwise amusing scene in a movie I really like.)

But both of these ads could be overlooked, ignored, dismissed as obviously tacky, and never thought of again ... but then there's the DirecTV "Poltergeist" commercial, which is in such poor taste that it boggles my mind. Here it is for those who haven't seen it yet -- and yes, I fully acknowledge the irony of sharing a clip that I actively detest, but let's see if you can figure out why it sickens me so much...
Yeah, it's because that little girl died tragically at 12 years of age. And everyone over the age of 20 knows it. So instead of thinking about how great Poltergeist is, or how maybe DirecTV is a cool service, all we're thinking is "Jeez, Craig T. Nelson should have known better. This is really uncool." And the same goes for Robert Patrick, Christopher Lloyd, and Christie Brinkley. (Monika B. shared her own thoughts on this ad campaign a few weeks ago.)

On top of all this stupidity is a bigger issue: If DirecTV is trying to appeal directly to hardcore movie fans, they should come up with a better approach than "Hey look, our ads have been inserted into your favorite movies!" Maybe something that actually, I dunno, shows a little respect for the act of film-watching. Like maybe the ad shows a bunch of people sitting down to enjoy Vacation on DirecTV, and someone keeps flipping the station to TV commercials, so in comes Chevy Chase to smack the guy. You can have that pitch for free if you promise never to exploit a dead child again.
categories Cinematical