If you've watched one of Rob Lowe's ads for DirecTV, then you're well aware that the handsome actor subscribes to the satellite service provider while his alter-egos—and less cool counterparts such as "Peaked In High School Rob Lowe"—have cable.
The commercials, while amusing, have now been pulled following a complaint from cable giant Comcast, a direct competitor of DirecTV, which questioned the accuracy of the campaign's claims, reports the L.A. Times.
On Tuesday, the National Advertising Division, a branch of the Council of Better Business Bureaus which reviews ads for truthfulness and accuracy, recommended that DirecTV pull the popular ads and reportedly urged the company to ditch Lowe's signature line: "Don't be like this me. Get rid of cable and upgrade to DirecTV."
According to Variety, Comcast questioned a number of claims in the spot, including the notion that "with DirecTV you get 99 percent signal reliability" as well as the "best picture quality and sound."
However, the NAD says these claims are "unsupported" and urged DirecTV to discontinue to the ads.
Lowe seemingly responded to the advertising controversy via Twitter today writing, "Recent events have underlined my belief that for something to be truly original, funny and subversive, there must also be fallout. #Life"
Per the L.A. Times, DirecTV plans to appeal the NAD's findings, claiming that "the various Rob Lowe advertisements are so outlandish and exaggerated that no reasonable consumer would believe that the statements being made by the alter-ego characters are comparative or need to be substantiated."
With regards to the content in Rob Lowe's ads, the NAD said that while "humor can be an effective and creative way for advertisers to highlight the differences between their products and their competitor's, 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."
Although the NAD's recommendations are not legally binding, the division will send the dispute to the appropriate government agency if the advertising company does not comply with its recommendations.
DirecTV's current commercials feature Sports Illustrated swimsuit star Hannah Davis. "The Rob Lowe campaign was always scheduled to end at the end of Q1 — we wanted to launch our new campaign with Hannah Davis in the (NCAA men's basketball) Final Four," Jon Gieselman, DirecTV SVP of marketing and advertising, said in a statement, per Variety. "We always reserve the right to bring back the Rob Lowe campaign, either in its current form or with new spots; it has been extremely successful for the brand."
(E! and Comcast are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)