Charlie Ergen, Just a Regular Guy Who Wants to Watch TV


Dish is featuring CEO Charlie Ergen as a spokesman in its latest TV spots, clad in a black button-down shirt with the DBS operator’s logo, to make him look like a working-class Joe.

The ads — aimed at reversing Dish’s recent customer losses — have the tagline “Let’s Watch TV” and have a cute little jingle with a Jack Johnson-style guitar and handclaps (the music is actually a bit reminiscent of the tune in Comcast’s “Dream Big” commercials).

In the latest ad, he asks the viewer: “Have you ever wondered why you have to pay for channels you don’t watch? Like paying for children’s channels, and you don’t have any kids. Or shopping channels — and you’re a guy!”

Quelle horreur.

A couple of problems with that, though: Dish doesn’t actually offer packages that exclude kids’ programming or shopping channels. Furthermore, QVC, HSN and ShopNBC don’t even charge carriage fees — in fact, they typically give a cut of their sales to the distributors — so it’s not like eliminating them would lower your overall monthly bill.

According to Dish, the examples Ergen provides in the ad are merely to illustrate the issue of choice as part of the satellite operator’s claim that it offers more options on packages than competitors. Ergen does note in the spot that “no one in the business is allowed to give you each channel individually.”

Meanwhile, Ergen’s claim that Dish is “ranked No. 1 among cable and satellite companies for customer satisfaction” — based on the 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index survey — conveniently leaves out AT&T and Verizon, both of which scored higher (see Cable Ups Customer-Sat Scores In 2010: Survey).

That ad began airing Aug. 23, and follows spots with Ergen chatting about Dish’s customer service and how he started the company (”That’s me 30 years ago delivering my first satellite dish. That’s kind of an embarrassing picture!”).

Here’s the latest “Let’s Watch TV” spot with Ergen: