When you don't really have anything to say, make it funny.
"The Best Offer of the Year" --> lame.
John Cleese --> awesome.
I'm not sure whether this spot will sell many DirecTV subscriptions, especially given their loud and public battle with Viacom, but it's giving my DVR a workout so I can pause, study and enjoy all the funny bits in each and every scene.
Would it be more effective with a real reason to call and subscribe? Yes.
Did it put DirecTV on my radar screen? Definitely.