They range from funny to downright disturbing, but most television watchers have seen them.
Now, however, DirecTV commercials featuring Rob Lowe and his questionable cable-using alter egos may be pulled from the airwaves.
While the company said they were meant to be amusing, opponents called them misleading.
“Hi, I'm Rob Lowe and I have DirecTV,” the actor said in one of the ads.
“Hi, I'm super creepy Rob Lowe and I have cable,” another, creepier version of Lowe said.
The commercials feature different versions of Lowe standing side-by-side.
“My cable's out so I'm down at the rec center watching folks swim,” one version said.
“With cable, you wait forever for them to show up,” another said. “I hope it's not a girl… or a guy.”
The versions, according to the ads, represent the satellite provider's competitors.
On Tuesday, however, a consumer watch dog group told it to pull the popular commercials off the air after Comcast filed a complaint.
The commercials declare that DirecTV has “better signal reliability than cable” and “shorter customer service wait times.”
The National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau said those statements are “unsupported” and that DirecTV should “discontinue those claims.”
“I think DirecTV thought ‘we have a great campaign, people are talking about it,'” said Stephen Battaglio, a media writer for the Los Angeles Times. “It is entertaining people and it's working. [They said] ‘let's run it until we get the cease and desist,' and that's what they've done.”
In response to the ruling, DirecTV said “the various Rob Lowe advertisements are so outlandish and exaggerated that no reasonable consumer would believe that the statements being made need to be substantiated.”
The company can still call the campaign a success.
"DirecTV had a down quarter, they were losing subscribers before this campaign came on,” Battaglio said. “They gained subscribers in the two quarters where they ran the ads, and they were gaining them at a higher rate when you compare them to the previous year. These were very successful commercials for DirecTV."
The ads also generated a lot of buzz for a company that hasn't come without controversy.
"For every one of those commercials, DirecTV received complaints from some group or another,” Battaglio said. “If you can make people stop and watch a commercial today, that is a really big deal."
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