‘Joe the Plumber’ takes on DTV

Joe Wurzelbacher, aka ‘Joe the Plumber,’ is now tackling the DTV transition with a series of online videos intended to raise DTV awareness and teach people how to use a converter box

What does Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as “Joe the Plumber,” do when the 2008 U.S. presidential election is nothing more than a fading memory? What else? Tackle the DTV transition.

Wurzelbacher is appearing in a series of five videos at online DTV converter box retailer VelocityStore.com to help prepare the public for the February 2009 DTV transition. The first, posted Nov. 25, covers the most basic of facts about the transition. In it Wurzelbacher reminds viewers that the DTV transition will touch millions of Americans, “especially the handicapped, senior citizens and non-English-speaking communities.”

Four other videos, covering various aspects of the transition, from the availability of government converter box coupons to why the nation is transitioning to DTV, will appear before the Feb. 17, 2009, transition.

In the second video, Joe the Plumber actually teaches Web site visitors how to connect a DTV converter box to their existing analog TV set, said VelocityStore.com CEO Scott Hiser.

While the videos are non-partisan, the reaction of some people has been anything but, Hiser said. Shortly after posting the initial video, VelocityStore.com began to receive e-mails objecting to the use of Joe the Plumber in the videos.

The Toledo, OH-based online retailer asked Wurzelbacher, who lives only a few miles away, to become its DTV transition spokesman in the hope of attracting attention. “Being that we are a small business and Web site with our exposure limited to the DTV.gov Web site, we thought using Joe in the videos would thrust us into the spotlight,” he said.

“It’s interesting to see how polarizing this is,” he said.