DirecTV hires Charlie Sheen to star in 'Get rid of cable' ad

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DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) hired controversial actor Charlie Sheen to star in its latest "Get rid of cable" commercial, warning viewers in the humorous ad that watching cable TV could see them end up spending an unusual night with Sheen.

DirecTV commercial

Click here to view the ad.

Produced by Grey New York, the ad follows a similar format to other spots in a campaign DirecTV kicked off in January. It opens with a shot of a male cable subscriber who is shown having trouble recording programs on his DVR because of a "recording conflict." The frustrated cable subscriber ends up drinking at a bar, visits a Turkish bath house where he meets Sheen, and after a night of partying, reenacts scenes from war movie Platoon with Sheen.

Here is the text narrated in the ad: "When you have cable and can't record all of your shows, you feel unhappy. When you feel unhappy, you go to happy hour. When you go to happy hour, you're up for anything. When you're up for anything, you head to a Turkish bath house. When you head to a Turkish bath house, you meet Charlie Sheen. And when you meet Charlie Sheen, you reenact scenes from Platoon with Charlie Sheen. Don't reenact scenes from Platoon with Charlie Sheen. Get rid of cable, and upgrade to DirecTV."

The ad ends with an image of Sheen, wearing a headband similar to the one he donned in Platoon, raising a crossbow that he is preparing to fire at the cable subscriber. DirecTV also touts programming packages at the end of the commercial that cost as low as $29.99 monthly to new subscribers that sign a two-year contract.

Sheen, who has struggled for years with drug addiction and was arrested in 2009 on domestic violence charges, is the former star of hit CBS series Two and a Half Men. Producer Warner Bros. Domestic Television fired Sheen last March, after he ridiculed executives at Warner Bros. and CBS.

In recent months, DirecTV has focused on edgier marketing. It recently ran a unique ad in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition which allowed mobile phone users to access videos of swimsuit models by holding their phones over photos of models in the magazine.

The edgy DirecTV ads are a sharp contrast to the approach of rival Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH), which is positioning itself as a family friendly pay TV provider. Dish has said that its acquisition of Blockbuster will help it target families, and it recently launched a $5 monthly Heartland programming package that includes Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movie Channel, GMC TV, Pixl, RFD-TV and Rural TV.

DirecTV isn't the only advertiser using Sheen. Automobile manufacturer Fiat has also hired Sheen to star in a commercial titled "house arrest" which shows Sheen wearing an ankle monitor and racing its new Fiat 500 car inside a home.

For more:
- See the DirecTV ad
- Ad Age has this story

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