DirecTV Casts Brian Cox as Its 'Overly Direct Spokesperson'
"Let me be direct. YOU'RE DOING TV WRONG!"
Emmy and Golden Globe winner Brian Cox gets shouty in his debut as DirecTV's "Overly Direct Spokesperson" from TBWA\Chiat\Day L.A. and director Jody Hill.
At one point, Cox—fresh off his Super Bowl ad for Michelob Ultra—hurls a book in disgust. Mostly, he acts all smug (yet strangely likable) in an amusing series of spots that portray DirecTV as superior to rival services.
Fussy-dude spokescharacters are all the rage this week, apparently. Brian should drop by KFC and berate angry Colonel Sanders.
"I thoroughly enjoy being the Overly Direct Spokesperson," Cox says in campaign materials. "The main broadcast spot is truly an ode to all that DirecTV is doing to simplify their TV watching experience."
The work intros a new over-arching theme, "Entertainment Without Compromise." The client says that positioning marks a natural evolution of past work, which memorably bragged about providing "the best of live and on-demand" (with sports stars like Serena Williams sending up popular films).
"It was time to move away from the beloved mash-up," TBWA\C\D executive creative director Jason Karley tells Muse. As the team brainstormed, "'Overly Direct Spokeperson' quickly rose to the top as the most ownable, memorable and funny option. And directness, aside from the obvious literal link to DirecTV, allows us to say a lot of salient product stuff, but also insert that bit of edge and humor when Brian crosses into the too-direct realm."
The agency had Brian in mind from the start. "We had backups of course," Karley says. "But he was the prototype and the dream. He has the unique ability to sound both sincere and caring, yet critical and unfiltered in the same sentence."
Tough love's great, but isn't there some risk in going with a surly character?
"The trap many brands fall into is holding up a mirror to the target or casting based on social following alone," says Karley. "The goal here was to get the person who people would love watching being overly direct. Having some age and wisdom gives him authority, but it's his overall persona that makes it great."
He's like the World's Most Interesting Man's brash brother. (Given DirecTV's subscriber struggles since it acquisition by AT&T, you can't blame Brian for feeling a tad cross.)
"We were also lucky enough to work with director Jody Hill, who we've admired for quite some time just as fans," says agency associate creative director Mark Winters. Hill's helmed Hollywood features and TV shows. Here, he provides punchy pacing and an understated atmosphere that help the central performance shine.
"His ability to orchestrate an entire scene to play off Brian's energy elevated a campaign that could have felt just one-note-grumpy in less steady hands," Winters says.
Along with the films, look for outreach across digital, social and radio through year's end.
Vince Torres: Chief Marketing Officer
Kendall Thaker: VP, Brand & Creative
Sheri Holmes: AVP, Advertising & Creative Services
Jenn Wang: Director, Advertising
Ty Tanioka: Senior Manager, Advertising
Renato Fernandez: Chief Creative Officer
Jason Karley: Group Creative Director
Mark Winters: Creative Director
Ryan Buckley: Creative Director
Josh DiMarcantonio: Creative Director
Jessica Nugent: Copywriter
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Ekaterina Cervantes: Designer
Qi Tan: Designer
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PRODUCTION COMPANY: CAVIAR
Director: Jody Hill
DP: Peter Donahue
Executive Producer: Michael Ssgal
Executive Producer: Kim Dellara
Head Of Production: Cat Craven-Griffiths
Producer: Bernard Rahill
Editor: Geoff Hounsell
Assistant Editor: Fernando Raigoza
Executive Producer: Crissy DeSimone
Head of Production: Megan Dahlman
Senior Producer: Alexa Atkin Berman
VFX Supervisor: Nathan Kane
Creative Leads: Taner Besen
Creative Leads: John McIntosh
Creative Team: Dan Adams
Creative Team: Damien Cho
Creative Team: James Cudahy
Creative Team: Adam Deutsch
Creative Team: Kathleen Kirkman
Creative Team: Jay Lee
Production Team: Anna Kravtsov
Production Team: Kate Matos
Production Team: Lexi Stearn
COLOR ROYAL MUSTER
Colorist: Gregory Reese
Executive Producer: Thatcher Peterson
MUSIC: STRING & TINS
MUSIC & SOUND DESIGN: STRING & TINS
Audio Post Production: String and Tins
Sound Design: Jim Stewart & Culum Simpson
Audio Producer: Laura-Leigh Smith
Music Supervision: Mike Bamford and Olivia Endersby
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan
Associate Producer: Cassie Underwood
Sound Mixer: Matt Miller
Assistant Mixer: Ian Connie
David Azulay, EVP, Om