Sling TV signs up Danny Trejo for anti-cable ad campaign

Danny Trejo (Credit: Sling TV)(Dish Network/Sling TV)

With its subscriber ranks swelling north of 700,000, and its programming having grown in include most major broadcast channels, Dish Network’s Sling TV unit is embarking on an aggressive ad campaign to steal market share away from traditional pay TV.

Well, to be semantically accurate, Sling TV is going after cable, really, leveraging the intimidating persona of oft-used celebrity pitch man Danny Trejo. 

“People say I’m evil,” Trejo says to the camera in one of Sling’s TV commercials. “I say evil is how cable companies trick you with a lower rate and then, bam! Your bill is over 100 bucks a month.

The spots incorporate Sling’s “Take Back TV” slogan. The messaging has evolved from vague to an overt threat to the traditional linear pay-TV ecosystem. Sling TV is growing at a time that Dish is experiencing significant, steady losses on its core satellite TV platform. 

“When creating ‘Who’s Bad?!,’ our goal was to amplify the frustration that many consumers have with the traditional pay-TV model, and Danny Trejo mirrors this negative consumer sentiment with a breakthrough style and delivery,” said Glenn Eisen, chief marketing officer of Sling TV, in a statement. “Danny is the authority on bad and gives a voice to the dissatisfied cable customer, setting the stage for a new consumer model and solution that Sling TV distinctly provides.”

Dish is no longer billing its virtual pay-TV service — which starts at $20 a month and is as easy to sign up for and quit as Netflix — as merely a tool to access younger consumers who’ve never had cable or satellite.

“When we launched, we were focused on cord nevers,” Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch told Variety. “Now, we are a true full cable replacement.”

Sling TV recently added a second $25-a-month platform that includes access to Fox and NBC owned and operated stations. Last week, it announced that it added NBC’s on-demand programming to the mix — an important programming driver for a service that doesn’t include a DVR. 

For $40 a month, Sling subscribers can combine the legacy “Orange” platform, which includes ESPN and most major cable channels, with the new “Blue” platform, which includes Fox and NBC. Access to live ABC feeds can purchased in a  separate add-on package. 

For more:
- read this Sling TV press release
- read this USA Today story
- read this Variety story

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