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Sling TV thinks Danny Trejo will scare you away from the cable company

Do you think Machete is scary? Not as scary as your astronomical cable bill, says Sling TV in a new ad campaign that debuts today.

Laura Martínez Senior Editor / CNET en Español
Laura Martínez was a senior editor of CNET en Español. She has lived and worked as a journalist in Mexico, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires and New York. She was the founding editor of the U.S. Hispanic edition of 'The Wall Street Journal' and editor in chief of VNU's 'Marketing y Medios magazine. She is also the founder of Mi blog es tu blog, a daily commentary on Hispanic marketing, media and pop culture.
Laura Martínez
2 min read

What's scarier than movie tough guy Danny Trejo sharpening a huge machete?

Your monthly cable bill.

That's what the new marketing campaign from streaming video service Sling TV wants you to think. Its new ads starring Trejo launch today nationwide on TV, radio, internet and social media, in both English and Spanish.

"Danny amplifies the frustration that many consumers have with traditional pay TV services," said Glenn Eisen, Chief Marketing Officer of Sling TV during a recent meeting with CNET in Manhattan.

Part of that frustration, says Eisen, has to do with the high monthly cable bill; having to sign a long-term contract and pay hidden fees and charges in exchange for poor customer service and a bunch of channels that nobody watches anyway.

In one of the English-language spots we see Trejo -- who has appeared in numerous Hollywood films including Machete, Machete Kills, Heat and From Dusk Till Dawn -- looking straight to the camera saying: "People say I'm scary... [chuckles] I say scary is not knowing how a cable bill of over a hundred bucks got so expensive."

In another one, he plays on looking evil, but not as evil as how cable companies trick you into paying hundreds of dollars for their service. (For the record: this bilingual writer can attest to the fact that Trejo sounds scarier in English than in Spanish.)

The campaign, crafted by Identity-Mediabrands of New York, is the latest effort by Sling TV to increase its base of subscribers, currently at over 600,000, according to company executives.

Launched in February 2015, Sling TV -- a subsidiary of Dish Network -- streams live TV channels over the internet. It competes directly with PlayStation Vue, and is expected to get more competition in the future, when competing "skinny bundle" services from Hulu and YouTube are rumored to come online.

Sling was originally aimed at cash-strapped millennials and "cord-nevers." But with the Trejo ad campaign, it's making a bigger push -- in English and Spanish -- to consumers that are fed up with their cable company.

Given that cable companies regularly vie with wireless carriers for the title of Americans' most hated corporations, though, this may be one of Machete's easier takedowns.

Check out (below) one of the new spots breaking today.

Watch this: Danny Trejo is the new, bilingual face of Sling TV [video]