Selling the Dead

Does a DirectTV ad honor or disturb Chris Farley's memory?

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Using deceased celebrities in commercials is nothing new, but the last two DirectTV ads are using people who died under particularly sad circumstances. 

This ad uses Heather O'Rourke from the Poltergeist movies, who died at 12 years of age due to intestinal stenosis. 

 

When I first saw this ad it made me sad for Craig T. Nelson... surely there's a ton of Coach residual checks coming in. Then, DirectTV went back to the graveyard and pillaged this: 

Sure, this is nothing truly new or groundbreaking. I mean, remember when Fred Astaire danced with vacuum cleaner? I wasn't too sure about this one... I sort of like Spade's attitude in this... "Never gets old..." is kind of cute and sort of feels like a homage. The use of the clip and of Chris' image was approved by the Farley estate. 
For his part, David Spade says (through a publicist), "When DirectTV came to me and Farley family with this idea about 'Tommy Boy,' we talked and thought it would be a cool way to remind people just how funny Chris was. It was a clever homage to my friend and a movie that we loved doing."
How does this feel to you? 

Comments

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  • At first i was repulsed, but reading that his family was cool with it and that spade made the appropriate checks, i think it's ok. for the world that doesn't know Farley died a terrible, untimely death, I suppose it's not an issue.

  • In reply to FernandoDiaz:

    I think with most families I would still be unsettled by it (ala the Ted Williams debacle) but it does seem like the Farleys are doing some very respectful and good things with Chris' memory (the Foundation, the book, etc...)

  • In reply to FernandoDiaz:

    When I first saw this commercial, it really didn't like it. It is good to read that the Farley family supported it. The commercial makes me feel a little sad frankly -- thinking about how Chris Farley died so young.

  • In reply to FernandoDiaz:

    It's a little disturbing that both those ads include actors who died very young.

  • In reply to FernandoDiaz:

    I think its screwed up....

  • In reply to FernandoDiaz:

    Personally, I do think it's creepy. But in the Farley case it made me think.... hey, look, we're talking about Chris Farley.

  • In reply to FernandoDiaz:

    I thought it reeked of desperation on the part of Direct TV -- that they couldn't think of any other way to get people's attention, so they used a dead celebrity. It's not offensive or anything, just trite.

  • In reply to jdl409:

    Jesus Frog! King Kong was a huge dead celebrity and nobody objected to him being on one of these commercials.

  • In reply to jdl409:

    This just is really bad direction for useful advertising. How many people now (at least subliminally) associate the sadness of Chris's death with DirectTV. This is not really a selling point in my mind and doesn't encourage people to make a change to DirectTV. It just reminds viewers that a great talent died too young and too sadly more than anything else, I'd bet.

  • In reply to oesterle:

    Great ads by DirectTV. Unlike most ads today, this one make you remember the product, DirectTV. I hope their next one is with Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger or Danny Kaye and Larry Olivier.

  • In reply to oesterle:

    Also, I hear the new version of "A Christmas Carol" has a cameo of Farley's Ghost.

  • In reply to oesterle:

    The O'Rourke thing still creeps me out and even if the family is ok with this Chris Farley spot, Spade is still a creep making a buck off his friend. This parody with a kid as Spade is great (just like Spade, you want to smack this kid two seconds in) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YiyFk2GuPM Also makes you wonder who is next, you know. Is anything/anyone sacred? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clc7k5Vptak

  • In reply to FernandoDiaz:

    I don't get what all the fuss is about! These are two famous movies scenes from recent decades. Is that the problem? Not enough time has passed? Using Heath Ledger in a commercial would certainly put people over the edge, but it certainly didn't stop people from watching his performance as the Joker.

  • In reply to FernandoDiaz:

    I don't find watching Tommy Boy creepy. Why should I feel that way about a commercial using footage from it? Do you get creeped out by re-runs from 10 years ago when today's stars were younger?

  • In reply to Byron:

    I guess what creeps out most people is that the deceased is being used to sell a service/product without their consent... it's something that if a company did that to a living person that person could sue, but since they're dead they have no say whatsoever. Re-runs of shows, or watching an old movie is completely different since the actors signed up and participated of their own free will.
    What if, actors added a clause to their will or contract permitting such usage. That'd be an interesting foresight.

  • In reply to Byron:

    I don't think that the time lapse between the celebrity's death and their explotation debut in a commercial have any thing to do with why people are disturbed by all this. Using Heath Ledger would put me over the edge just as much as Elvis Presley. Let them rest in peace. Jason, I love that fact that Spade's comment on the matter came from his publicist. I never understood why people have people talk for them. Do celebrities not have a voice?! He certainly spoke for Chris Farley, didn't he?? But then again, I'm just an non-equity improvisor...RIP, Farley!

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