False, and Indecent, Advertising

[Content Note: Classism; fat hatred.]

Rowena Lindsay at the CSM: "Why did DirecTV pull its Rob Lowe commercials?"

It turns out that it's because they were accused of false advertising. Not for the reason they should have pulled the campaign (or never launched it in the first place): Because the entire campaign is a gross piece of classist garbage.

If you're not familiar with the ads, they feature famously good-looking, talented, and successful thin, straight, white, cis actor Rob Lowe and various alter-egos, like "Super Creepy Rob Lowe" and "Peaked in High School Rob Lowe," representing DirecTV (Rob Lowe) and cable (alter-ego Rob Lowe), with Rob Lowe touting the superiority of DirecTV and admonishing viewers: "Don't be like this me. Get rid of cable and upgrade to DirecTV."

DirecTV is still trying to find a way to continue the campaign nonetheless: "Lowe may make an appearance in DirecTV commercials in the future, however, as the company was in the process of creating five new alter-ego characters for him, including 'total deadbeat' Rob Lowe, who gets surgery in a hotel room to save money."

Hahahaha he can't afford health insurance! Terrific!


The alter-egos are less than versions of Rob Lowe because they are poor, or fat, or balding, or underemployed, or awkward. Or because they're "creepy," which is definitely the same thing as being fat or bald. Ahem.

Qualities which are so hideous (AHEM) that comparing cable companies to them is one basis of the false advertising charge:
[The National Advertising Division, which is part of the Council of Better Business Bureaus and fact checks advertisements, suggested that DirecTV] discontinue the catchphrase "Don't be like this me. Get rid of cable and upgrade to DirecTV" because it "conveyed a comparative and unsupported superiority message."

"Humor can be an effective and creative way for advertisers to highlight the differences between their products and their competitor's," the NAD said in a statement. However, "humor and hyperbole do not relieve an advertiser of the obligation to support messages that their advertisements might reasonably convey — especially if the advertising disparages a competitor's product."
Comcast isn't like a poor fat person! And it's outrageous to suggest that it is! Because everyone knows fat poor people are garbage! Basically.

The entire campaign relies on denigrating marginalized people: Even "Creepy Rob Lowe" is not merely "creepy" by virtue of his behavior, but also because he wears the look of a working-class biker.

Followed by a catchphrase that says don't be like them. Eww gross.

Cue the caterwauling about how I am oversensitive and shrill and Most Humorless Feminist in all of Nofunnington. Don't I get it that it's just a joke?

Sure. I get it. I get it big time.

Forgive me (or don't) if I still don't find the humor in calling marginalized people trash.

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