Dish Kicks Off New Campaign, Hopper Character Pushes Ad-Free TV

Dish Network has launched a new TV commercial as part of an overall marketing campaign -- with no mention of the commercial-skipping function of the controversial set-top box, the Hopper.

A new live-action spot voiced by actor Rebel Wilson as Hopper the Kangaroo finds Hopper working in an office enjoying the NCAA College Basketball Tournament on a tablet device. Asked what she is doing by a co-worker, Hopper says she is watching TV and then quickly puts away the device -- in her pouch -- before her boss approaches.

“Technology companies regularly struggle at forming an emotional connection with consumers. Our new animated Hopper, featuring Rebel Wilson’s voice, makes for a character that’s highly engaging,” said James Moorhead, chief marketing officer of Dish Network. “Dish is the only company that delivers consumers all their live and recorded TV anywhere.”

Dish says this is the first of a series of TV commercials featuring Hopper the Kangaroo.

Previous marketing efforts for Dish have featured a Boston family with thick “Southie” accents talking about the Hopper -- including one that pays their last respects to TV commercials. “Now that we have the Hopper, we can watch commercial-free TV,” says one of the characters.

Dish’s Hopper set-top box has an AutoHop function, which can record huge blocks of prime-time programming on the four major TV broadcast networks -- without commercials. The controversial device has led to lawsuits by the networks.

But earlier this month, Dish struck a ground-breaking multi-year deal with Walt Disney that included striking a subscription-based broadband programming channel, as well as an agreement disabling the fast-forwarding function on Dish subscribers' remotes when it came to Disney TV programming three days after a show has aired.

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