AT&T Tells Customers to Put Phones Down

Anytime a brand tells its customers to stop using their product, for any length of time, it is making a very bold decision, to say the least. Communication giant, AT&T, did just that when it chose to pull their typical retail spots on December 24th and 25th, in favor of “Present.” The ad depicts a father who watches wistfully as his teenage daughter delves into the many facets of the mobile world, rather than invest in the experience of various festive traditions. Texting throughout the hunt for the perfect tree, taking photos and videos at the skating rink and while decorations are hung, even using headphones to separate herself during car rides, the daughter repeatedly chooses phone over family. Ultimately, she gives her phone to her father in beautiful wrapping and therefore takes the advice of the accompanying voiceover to “Give the Present of Being Present.” Mobile devices have become a major part of modern life. Events are routinely shared through social media; often taking away from the first-hand experience, they would have provided prior to the smartphone-era. AT&T has made a daring statement with this ad. They have recognized the holiday season as a period meant for spending time personally interacting with loved ones. They have told their customers to put down their products. Rather than adopt the routine bombardment of “buy, buy, buy,” seen in many ads during the now post-Halloween stretch to the new year, AT&T may have made a strong statement to families who still see the season as one of family-first, by presenting their company as one that shares the sentiment.