Posts Tagged cable
I must be the only person in America put off by the message sent by the DirectTV Sunday Ticket alter ego campaign. No one on the Internet appears to be calling out these ads. I thought it would be prime material for a Slate think piece. But, the best of my Google searching shows that everyone thinks its just fine for football players make fun of those who don’t match traditional stereotypes of masculinity.
Let’s make a list of the things DirectTV think its OK to make fun of:
- Skinny legs.
- High voices.
- Petite stature. (Even though this version of petite is really just “short.”)
- A talent for sculpture, paper mache and baking.
This campaign is an extension of the successful “alter ego” campaign that started ages ago with Rob Lowe’s memorable characters. The difference was Lowe’s alter egos were actually creepy. Super Creepy guys paid no attention to hygiene, lived in mom’s basement past the acceptable age, and leered at swimming women without their knowledge.
In all of the alter ego ads, a handsome, masculine, suave man announces he has DirectTV. Then an undesirable version of that man steps into the frame and announces he has cable. In each case, DirectTV man is prosocial while cable man is antisocial to communicate that DirectTV is cool while cable is not.
This particular campaign is designed to promote the NFL Sunday Ticket. So, targeting a male audience makes sense. Additionally, these men watching might subscribe to traditional masculine ideals – even if they couldn’t run a 40-yard-dash in less than a minute.
It seems the ads are getting a good reception:
The new Direct TV commercial with high voice Peyton Manning is so funny😂
— Aidan Anderson (@aidananderson18) September 20, 2015
Tony Romo / Crafty Tony Romo DirecTV commercial is legitimately funny.
— I RAP WELL (@BKnitts) September 27, 2015
And I’m petite Randy Moss 😢 these @DIRECTV commercials are hilarious 😂
— O-Dollaz (@OJC_7) September 28, 2015
But, there are plenty of women watching football, too. And, there are men who like a good a cappella performance just as much as a great touchdown dance. So, that’s why I can’t believe that no one has a problem with the message of these ads: That being short, skinny, a good singer, or arts and crafty makes you less of a man.
I get that some of you will think I’m reading too much into this or being oversensitive. I’m pretty sure this guy agrees with you:
Peyton Manning’s DirectTv commercial marginalizes the experiences of skinny legged people.
— Shane SonOfJohn (@ShaneSonOfJohn) September 27, 2015
“Screams like a girl” isn’t in any way ‘coded language’ in the way you might argue the rest of the ad is. Plainly, it’s an insult. Indeed, people are referencing the cable versions of the football players to insult or otherwise degrade actual football players who aren’t meeting expectations.
— Chris Markel (@cjmark810) September 28, 2015
Peyton Manning runs like skinny legs Peyton manning from the direct tv commercial
— Mr. HVAC (@FurtadoMarcel) September 27, 2015
The Romo ad is the one that drove me over the edge enough to motivate me to spend the time writing about my thoughts. Take the 30 seconds to watch it.
Seriously, what kind of monster would disparage someone for mixing brownies and cupcakes? That sounds like a dream come true.
Anyway, the other ads from the campaign are below.
They just want to watch some Orange is the New Black.
But, they can’t.
Earlier this month, my mom gave up trying to get through the second season’s first episode when it took her more than 30 minutes to get through five minutes of content.
“I told your dad to just cancel Netflix,” she said. “It’s not worth it.”
“Write your congressman,” I said. She laughed.
I explained I was serious. I tried to talk about Net Neutrality.
“I think the best way to for them to get the message is to cancel my service,” she said. “I don’t want the government in my Internet.”
But, it already is. In so many ways.
The arguments against Net Neutrality are mostly economic.
The arguments for Net Neutrality are people like my parents.
People who depend on a free and open Internet to participate in civic functions, gain access to information, and have shared cultural experiences. Yes, like Orange is the New Black.
My parents are the picture-perfect example of who will be hurt by the end of Net Neutrality. Put those adorable people in an oak frame.
The just got access to high-speed Internet from Verizon a few years ago. Because they are in a rural location, they cannot get cable or most other Internet options. Seriously, we had a party phone line until I was in eighth grade.
Verizon didn’t willingly bring fiber optics to my parents. They had to fight for it by proving that they and other neighbors in a certain range would be willing to pay for it. After the submission of the paperwork, Verizon took a year to actually get the wires to their houses.
That wasn’t the end of the fight, though. My mom spent the next few months fighting with Verizon about the plan. Verizon would tell her one price then put another on the bill. My mom’s a good consumer, though. (It’s one of the many, many things I admire about her.) She’s totally willing to put a fight by staying on hold for ages, writing letters, and writing emails.
Eventually she ended up with one of the higher price plans. She wanted to be able to Skype or FaceTime with her granddaughter. She wanted to watch Chow Ciao videos (she might leave my dad for that Fabio). She wanted to watch the Netflix shows I always talked up. Verizon sold her that only the best plan would do.
Now, though the best plan doesn’t do.
Because of their slow Internet service, they’ll lose access to more than Piper’s adventures in Litchfield. For them, Internet access means access to consumer information, civic information, news and culture. My mom researches her consumer choices endlessly online before making a purchase. She’s been able to procure day lilies that make her the talk of the town. She’s talked with her grandkids – all on services that would likely end up victims of Verizon’s bullying if Net Neutrality isn’t enforced.
I’m writing to say that I as an academic researcher who has talked about these things in a sociological space, I know the theory-based and institutional reasons Net Neutrality is important to the continued growth of American economy and thought. But, people like my parents are the reason Net Neutrality is so salient to me.
And, it’s the reason I hope that a free and open Internet is preserved.
I’m asking the FCC to fight for, construct policies, and enforce a ban on so-called fast lanes for content providers. Because it will really be fast lanes for content providers who can pay for them. And, those content providers will then be at the mercy of a few Internet service providers (even fewer if the Comcast/Time Warner merger is permitted)
I’m also asking for Internet service to be reclassified from its current Title II carrier to a utility classification that recognizes the importance of Internet as an open road for all because of its democratization and consumerist properties – properties that certainly aren’t true of cable to the same magnitude.