Campaign: AT&T Broadband

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The AT&T logo goes to new lengths - literally - in the animated campaign that debuted during the summer Olympics. The AT&T globe logo, a venerable mascot for old-line corporate stolidity, unravels. It also explodes, splats, pops and crashes. The 11 spots in this campaign exploit a 3-D version of the old logo to visually communicate the strength of AT&T broadband, and they do it with plenty of charm and visual interest. Y&R CD Betsy Petropoulos says the vision was straightforward: "AT&T is looking to shed its image as the phone company and reposition itself as a broadband company, so the assignment was to shift perceptions. Since broadband is a complicated concept, we wanted to put it in bite-size pieces, so you see spots about speed, ubiquity, wirelessness and telecommuting."

Since the campaign was developed on short notice, the spots were produced by three different animation houses, each of which was given only general guidelines. Somehow, they managed to make commercials that fit with one another seamlessly. The spot illustrating ubiquity is a perfect example of this unlikely integration. Chelsea Pictures' Simon Blake directed and animated this one, in which pushpins fly toward the globe logo, ultimately covering the metaphorical planet. Although the other animators used CGI, Blake stuck with his preferred mode of stop motion, ("It was the most boring shoot I've ever been to," says Petropoulos), which still looks distinctly high-tech. Playing with a corporate logo can be a very risky business, but AT&T pulled it off, with animation that looks neither overly stark nor too trivially cartoonish. "We wanted to find a balance that included sophistication and wit with a sense of humor but not a candy-coated peanut," Petropoulos explains. "They invented the phone, for heaven's sake."

AD (Newton): Ross Sutherland CD/CW: Betsy Petropoulos ACD/AD: Diane Pittman AD (Popcorn): Kevin Fahey Executive Producer: Roseann Horn Producer: Dante Piacenza Music Director: Peter Greco CW (Whirlwind): Jill Applebaum AD (Whirlwind): Marwan Khuri Production Companies: Ring of Fire (Vroom, Atom, Bouncing Ball), Ms. Jones (Popcorn, Balloon, Newton), Will Vinton (Splat, Whirlwind) Director/Animator (Pushpins, Stripped, Dryer): Simon Blake, Chelsea Pictures

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