DirecTV's Sunday Ticket Ad: Let NFL RedZone Eat 'Cake'

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DirecTV’s latest series of TV ads for its out-of-market National Football League football package, “NFL Sunday Ticket,” has centered, rather amusingly, on displaced fans being able to watch their team in their rivals’ home markets and on multiple devices.

To wit, creative in the current campaign, carrying an estimated media budget of some $100 million, has played off of the feuds between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins; New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys; and  America’s Team and the Washington Redskins, among others.

The latest entry, at least to these eyes and ears, harkens to the ongoing contretemps between the top satellite- TV provider and cable.

In “Cake,” a husband and wife sit forlornly in an empty home, the missus intoning “Sunday football’s a tradition in our house” as she holds a cake shaped like a football field, flanked by a table full of untouched food. “So we got RedZone from the cable company and we found out it’s just plays inside the 20.”

The husband, sporting a Peyton Manning jersey and perched on the stairs holding a snack bowl, laments: “It’s not whole games; it’s highlights.”

The wife continues: “Of course, Nancy got DirecTV and now, well …” The spot cuts to a neighbor’s house, where folks are partying, led by a fist-pumping middle-ager in a Manning uniform. Convincing herself “It’s OK, it’s OK,” the wife snaps off and bites one of the goal posts, before stuffing her face with a handful of football cake.

From there, the commercial cuts to an image of Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew plunging into the end zone versus the Buffalo Bills, with a voiceover from Cris Collinsworth, concluding in part: “Only DirecTV has every minute of every game …”

This spot should be penalized — or applauded — for a couple of reasons. Once again, it underscores the rivalry between DirecTV and cable, which has never been able to tackle Sunday Ticket. From this perch, the hardly collegial “Cake” takes a shot at cable, telco video providers and the league itself, the takeaway being that the Ticket’s alternative, NFL Network’s NFL RedZone scoring and highlights channel, is inferior and unsatisfying. (It should be pointed out that Sunday Ticket’s RedZone feature preceded the kickoff of the NFL’s entry last season.)

That Collinsworth - the analyst for NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which, unlike CBS and Fox, doesn’t compete with Sunday Ticket for fans’ attention and dollars on Sunday afternoon (not to mention an NFL Network alumnus) - provides the voice for this and the rest of the current batch of DirecTV spots constitutes piling on.

That’s the opinion here. There’s no telling what NFL Network, DirecTV and NBC think as they declined to comment or failed to respond to those curious about “Cake.”