Cannes Lions

Cable Cutter


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Case Film






American adults spend about 20% of their day watching TV, but over 71% of cable customers are dissatisfied with their provider. Despite this, there are droves of consumers still paying for this dissatisfying service who haven’t switched to DIRECTV, which is rated higher in customer satisfaction, because pesky cable companies make the cancellation process a living nightmare. Between navigating automated phone trees, speaking to retention specialists and sitting through frustratingly long wait times, quitting cable can feel unbearable. So we set out to improve brand perceptions by alleviating this pain point and reinforcing that DIRECTV is a consumer-centric brand that offers a better experience.


DIRECTV Cable Cutter is a first-of-its-kind AI that uses Amazon Alexa to automate the tedious cable-quitting process. We designed the skill to adapt and navigate cable providers’ daunting phone tree experiences, helping consumers get a direct connection to a human cable representative much faster and easier. Cable Cutter even provides useful tools to assist and encourage consumers along the way—like meditation to prepare for the call, tips for saying “no” to sales pitches in different languages, and ways to celebrate once they finally cut the cord. For the first time, we used AI to outsmart our competitors’ robots and help give cable consumers the freedom they deserve. And for the first time, DIRECTV built a digital product that takes our “quit cable” communication from one-way marketing to a fully immersive experience.


First- and third-party data indicated to us that our online traffic is made up primarily of young families with a high interest in technology and TV consumption. Being a younger more tech-savvy audience, they over-indexed for utilizing voice assistants, which lead us to developing a skill that would get them through the biggest barrier of switching to DIRECTV—getting out of their current cable contract. Focusing our efforts on creating ease and implying how much more satisfied they will be when they switch to DIRECTV, we decided to focus on expediting through competitor phone trees, assisting them in keeping calm while retention specialists try to convince them to stay, and directing them to sign up for a more satisfying experience over all.


Pioneering a new skill was nearly a six-month process from ideation to execution. We partnered with a global experience design company to methodically bring this skill to life in a way that’s world class, ensuring easy functionality while keeping users entertained along the way. Amazon’s Alexa team provided guideposts and recommendations through each phase of the prototype process until DIRECTV Cable Cutter was live on the Amazon Alexa skill shopper platform. To support the launch of the skill, our team created bespoke paid media assets for Facebook and Instagram, including video assets to build awareness and encourage downloads.


DIRECTV Cable Cutter has helped hundreds of people successfully defeat cable company customer service hell. Since its launch, the skill has received positive reviews, and was even evangelized by Amazon’s own Alexa Evangelist.

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