AT&T Pokes Holes in DBS Pitches

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AT&T Broadband has broken a 13-week flight of new anti-direct broadcast satellite ads, using humor to argue that getting a dish installed just isn't worth the trouble when digital cable is a viable alternative.

In one spot, a wife returns home to find a nice, round hole strategically cut midway up a tree trunk, to clear a path from the sky to the satellite dish positioned on the roof of the house. Inside, the husband uses the tree remnant as a makeshift table.

In a second spot, an ambitious high school basketball player dramatically overshoots a free throw. The viewer understands why in the next frame — the basketball hoop on the boy's home has been positioned several feet higher than normal, to make room for a satellite dish.

Both ads address the problems some consumers encounter in finding a line of sight for a dish, as well as the "ugliness" of such equipment installed on their house, AT&T vice president of acquisition, upgrade and pay-per-view marketing Jennifer Schwartz said.

"We were hoping these would break through the clutter," she said.

Schwartz said AT&T has received positive feedback from consumers who said they can relate to the ads.

"These are the things that people talk about in getting a dish," she said. "There are real problems with line-of-sight."

For the ads, AT&T enlisted the help of Dallas ad agency The Richards Group, which previously produced other humorous anti-DBS broadsides for the cable operator.

The new spots have been distributed across all of AT&T's systems and run during cross-channel avails and on over-the-air stations, noted Schwartz.

AT&T has produced humorous anti-DBS spots for the past several years. In one recent campaign, a spot poked subtle fun at DirecTV Inc.'s "Feel the Joy" ads featuring a loveable DBS installer.

In AT&T's response, the technician plays up the limitations of single-receiver systems by promising the woman of the house she'll be watching sports in the kitchen whenever her husband is watching the game in the living room. To point out the bright side, he gives her tips on how to turn their home into a sports bar.


AT&T is also running an anti-dial-up ad to promote its high-speed Internet service. In the spot, a grandmother is so frustrated by the slow downloads and intermittent disconnects of her dial-up service that she asks her daughter not to bother e-mailing photos of her baby.