Dish hires new ad agency to spearhead ‘Spokeslistener 2.0'

Starring salt-and-pepper character actor Harry Van Gorkum, appearing in soft sweaters that make him appear emotionally available, Dish Network's "Spokeslistener" campaign will carry on with a new ad agency. (Dish)

Dish Network has hired Dallas-based advertising agency The Richards Group to take over the creative for its “Spokeslistener” campaign, Ad Age reports

The choice came after the satellite TV company conducted a review of its ad creative vendors. Incumbent Camp + King, the San Francisco shop that launched Dish’s Spokeslistener and “Tuned In To You” campaigns a year ago, chose not to participate in the review. 

"We have been searching for an agency to help us advance the voice of our Spokeslistener and 'Tuned In To You' brand promise, as we seek to continue our lead in delivering the best customer service in the pay-TV industry. At this point, we're not in a position to announce the results of that search," said Jay Roth, CMO and senior VP of Dish, via email, to Ad Age. 

Fierce also picked up Ad Age’s report from last month, noting Dish’s creative review. At the time, we (wrongly) assumed that the Spokeslistener campaign was done. Despite launching the Spokeslistener campaign in early 2017, Dish lost 823,000 linear satellite TV subscribers through the first three months of the year. 

RELATED: Dish reviewing its ad agency amid floundering of Spokeslistener

Starring classically trained, London-bred character actor Harry Van Gorkum, the “Spokeslistener” spots represent an attempt by Dish to steer its brand message away from a focus on price—and in the words of the request for proposal that brought in The Richards Group—“develop a meaningful relationship with consumers.” 

The RFP charges The Richards Group to “evolve the general market Spokeslistener campaign (Spokeslistener 2.0) to break through the clutter in the category.” 

The Richards Group has also been assigned to develop a complementary campaign targeted to rural markets—one that will use “a strong emotional connecting (the heart) that appeals to the unique values of small-town America.”

Ad Age said that Dish ranks 73rd on its list of the top 200 U.S. national advertising spenders, having spent $603.2 million on national ads in 2016, a 4% uptick over 2015. Dish also increased its spending on its virtual Sling TV platform by 333% to $46.2 million in 2017.