Watch the Spot

T-Mobile's New U.K. Stunt Replaces Popular Flashmobs -- With Parking Tickets

Surprise, Phone Company and Saatchi Really Want to Give Drivers Free Money

By Published on .

T-Mobile has moved on from its elaborate flashmob dance productions and is taking a new approach to stunts that surprise the public -- by issuing them bogus parking tickets.

The latest spot for the telecom brand, by Saatchi & Saatchi London, targets unsuspecting drivers across the U.K. It shows their angry, frustrated reactions as they return to their legally parked cars to find they have been issued tickets.

Motorists protest against the fines, and some react very badly to the injustice of it all. Traffic wardens -- played by local actors and comedians -- don't help by making annoying comments like, "It's only money," or "If you've got an issue, here's a tissue."

Hidden cameras later reveal the twist: When the drivers open up the authentic-looking yellow tickets, instead of a fine, they find either a 5, 10, 20 or 50 pound note (worth between $8 and $80) and a message from T-Mobile. The reactions to the surprise cash are as extreme as the reactions to the original tickets, with drivers hugging parking attendants (played by actors) and dancing for joy.

The connection between parking tickets and cellphone service is the launch of T-Mobile's new plan, You Fix, which is designed to help customers control their mobile-phone expenses and prevent nasty surprises when bills arrive.

During the one-day shoot on Sept. 13, T-Mobile gave away thousands of dollars in currency, targeting seven cities around the U.K. The ad's soundtrack is the song "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits.

Paul Silburn, creative partner at Saatchi & Saatchi, said in a statement, "This campaign sees us putting the product at the heart of the moments we are creating while still remaining true to giving people a reason to share what we are doing." The long-running "Life's for sharing" tagline comes up on screen at the end of the spot.

Additional footage from the ad shoot and behind-the-scenes content from the TV ad is also up on YouTube.

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