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DirecTV Ads With Deceased Actors Farley, O’Rourke Spark Debate

A new advertising campaign for DirecTV featuring the late comedian and actor, Chris Farley, has many viewers saying it is insensitive to use a deceased celebrity to sell a product.

Tommy Boy

Tommy Boy

DirecTV has a series of ads that feature stars reprising famous movie roles.  Their latest ad features Farley, who died in 1997 of heart failure due to an overdose, in a scene from the movie, “Tommy Boy.”

DirecTV was also under fire last year when they used a clip of actress Heather O’Rourke in “Poltergeist.” O’Rourke died in 1988 at the age of 12 (read more here). 

The new ad with “Tommy Boy,” however, also stars actor David Spade. Spade (via his publicist) spoke out on the ad to

“When DIRECT TV came to me and the Farley family with this idea about ‘Tommy Boy,’ we talked and thought it would be a cool way to remind people just how funny Chris was. It is a clever homage to my friend and a movie that we loved doing,” said Spade.

“We should look to Chris’ family and friends for the ultimate opinion on this subject. They were involved from the beginning of this project and felt that the spot was a great to tribute to Chris,” a representative for DirecTV said.

The commercial with O’Rourke also had the family involved.

“Heather’s mother not only approved” the commercial, said Jon Gieselman, senior vice president for advertising and public relations at DirecTV, in a New York Times interview last year.  “She also commented that Heather’s inclusion was a wonderful tribute to her daughter.”

View the commercials here:

Chris Farley DirecTV ad

Heather O\’Rourke DirecTV ad

What do you think about using deceased celebrities for an ad campaign? Share your comments below.

    3 Responses to “DirecTV Ads With Deceased Actors Farley, O’Rourke Spark Debate”

    1. Penny says:

      Nice write up! I loved the movie Tommy Boy…it was so hilarious.

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