It took awhile, but Sirius XM Radio
The televised spot features Elvis Presley, Michael Jordan, Richard Pryor, and Howard Stern to the tune of Presley's "All Shook Up". The ad basically praises the four celebrities for raising the bar in their respective industries. It then goes on to claim how satellite radio is elevating those same genres -- music, sports, comedy, and talk -- by "changing it again."
Let's hope that it's only the first ad of many to come. The commercial is slick, but it seems to miss the mark. If Sirius XM was an unknown entity, a brand awareness campaign would make sense. Leaning on two deceased entertainers, a retired athlete, and a talk show legend that only has 13 months left on his Sirius contract isn't how I would have approached this at all.
All shook up
No one is going to toss this commercial into the same "fail" heap as Microsoft's
The rub, though, is that we've waited so long for Sirius and XM to join hands in a unified marketing effort and all we get is a hollow slogan about "change" with a soundtrack from 1957.
If Sirius XM is really "changing it again" it should be showing the many ways that one can experience Sirius or XM programming beyond auto factory installations. Show a jogger with a portable model. Have an exec streaming Bloomberg from a netbook in an airport terminal. Give Apple
Don't get me wrong. I can already sense the rumblings in the Sirius fan base: I seemed pretty bullish on the company after its breakthrough third quarter -- am I turning on the satellite radio provider?
No. I'm still fairly upbeat over Sirius XM's near-term prospects. I just think this commercial is weak, and I challenge anyone to counter in the comment box below as to why it's a worthy campaign.
Is there anything inspiring in the 30-second spot to move someone into paying up for a receiver and monthly subscription plan? Sure, there's a 24/7 Elvis Presley station and a few unshackled comedy channels, but these offerings are several years old. There's nothing wrong with listening to a basketball game, but most fans would prefer to watch it through an NBA League Pass subscription or activating NBA TV through their cable or satellite television provider.
If the ads are about putting content front and center, lead by example. Run clips of some of the stories broken on its sport shows, celebrity interview snippets, and unplugged musical performances. The 30-second spot, for now, falsely positions Sirius XM as an aspiring brand when it should be positioned to be something quite attainable.
Kings of all media
A couple of years ago, Sirius and XM had little choice but to market their differences. Sirius had Stern, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's
When your ad's catchphrase is something that can very well apply to streaming rivals Pandora, Slacker, or RealNetworks'
Again, Sirius XM does not have a brand awareness problem. It's not just the 18.5 million active subscribers. Since the beginning of 2006, Sirius XM has also experienced 18.5 million cancellations. I don't see anything in the ad that would move someone who deactivated the service over the past four years -- a group as large as the current base -- to hop back on.
Sure, the fact that Sirius XM is launching a national ad campaign may be an inspirational act itself. It's a welcome sign of confidence, and that may sway some folks into making the initial investment now that no one is talking about Sirius XM going under. That is so February.
I just think Sirius XM needs to do a better job in reaching out to the retail market or winning back its growing ranks of former subscribers. These are the people that don't just want to hear that satellite radio is "changing" the industry: They want to know how Sirius XM is setting out to do exactly that.
So, what do you think of the new Sirius XM ad? Let us know in the Motley Poll below.
Best Buy and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Apple and Best Buy are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Options recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a subscriber to both Sirius and XM. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.