Monsters and Villains Are Shocked by How Evil Satellite TV Companies Are in Fun Ad for Cable

David Shane scares up the laughs for Spectrum

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Sure, demons, monsters and villains aren’t exactly the most upstanding citizens. But even they blanch at the evilness of some satellite and phone companies in this amusing new campaign by creative agency Something Different for Charter Communications’ Spectrum cable brand.

David Shane of O Positive directed four spots that are rolling out over the next month, beginning with “Train,” in which an evil professor, a mummy, a werewolf and the Grim Reaper himself are chatting on a commuter train about their humdrum lives—when the banter is derailed by a problem that Death is having on the home front.

Check out the “Train” spot here:

The commercial rises above its somewhat low-hanging premise through its sharp writing, fun makeup and amusing acting. The concept should make for a decent little series of ads.

“We all just laughed at the idea of these evil people thinking someone else was horrible,” says Tommy Henvey, chief creative at Something Different, which was founded last year by Ogilvy & Mather veterans Henvey and executive producer Patti McConnell. “It gave us a way to make our point that felt a little more unusual.”

“Train” focuses on service disruptions. Future ads will explore other customer gripes, like deceptive pricing and the lack of channels and features.

“It was fun to take tropey clichés of  ’30s and ’40s movie monsters and dimensionalize them for the modern world,” says Shane, whose comic credits include HBO’s “Awkward Family Viewing” ads. “We gave them everyday problems and below-the-surface emotions to create a sense of long-standing relationships between old friends, co-workers, wives and husbands.”

Something Different boasts an unusual model for a creative agency, assembling creative, production and media planning teams on a project basis depending on the task at hand.

“We felt that there was a better, simpler way to make stuff, and this campaign showed us that we weren’t actually out of our minds,” McConnell says. “We can bring in the most talented people, do big campaigns with great directors, and deliver great results. And, have a good time doing it! That’s all we ever wanted.”

Client: Charter Communications
Brand: Spectrum
Senior Vice President, Marketing and Creative Strategy: Joe Leonard
Vice President, Marketing and Creative Strategy: Jim Obermeyer
Senior Director, Marketing and Creative Strategy: Amy Kantrowitz
Senior Manager, Marketing and Creative Strategy: Lindsay Hittner

Agency: Something Different
Chief Creative: Tommy Henvey
Managing Partner, Executive Producer: Patti McConnell
Group Creative Director: Richard Ryan
Senior Producer: Garrett Crabb
Marketing Director: Christine Dodd
Production Coordinator: Jamie Eisman

Production: O Positive
Director: David Shane
Executive Producers: Ralph Laucella and Marc Grill
Producer: Ken Licata
Director of Photography: Marc Laliberte-Else
Production Designer: Dan Ouellete

Editing: Crew Cuts
Partner, Editor: Jake Jacobsen
Assistant Editor: Jake Trill
Producer: Sara Arnold
Post Effects Producer: Stephanie Norris

Music: JSM Music
Chief Creative Officer: Joel Simon
Executive Producer: Jeff Fiorello
Composers: Joel Simon and Seamus Kilmartin

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.