"Boundless" Returns For Second Olympics

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Young & Rubicam/New York's "Boundless" campaign, for AT&T, debuted almost two years ago. It launched, in fact, during the last Olympics, the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney. There have been new installments since, but NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics has been peppered with seven new spots featuring the AT&T trademark globe. "The only real rule we have for ourselves is we've either got to start with the globe or end with the globe," says Y&R creative director Kevin Fahey. "It's not all that limiting. We haven't run out of metaphors just yet." The new executions include the globe as a global village, as a virtual ant farm and as tracks left behind by an aggressive hockey team.

Director Simon Blake of Chelsea Pictures, who shot some of the original spots, returned to the campaign to oversee three of the new commercials. In the one that departs most from previous efforts, we follow a toy train through a series of towns as the voiceover explains how all of them are connected by AT&T. It's not until the camera pulls back that we see all of the scenes embedded in a 3D version of the logo (pictured above). Los Angeles' Ring of Fire also returned to the campaign for two spots, one of which features an army of virtual ants that, like AT&T's networks, show amazing ingenuity in overcoming obstacles.

Some new animation and design talent also came on board during this round. A simulated arcade crane plucking toys out of a pile was made from digital scratch by New York's Rhinoceros Visual Effects and Design. Stylized animations of a figure skater and a hockey team, meanwhile, were created by hot Manhattan upstart Psyop, which recently completed a Volkswagen brand campaign that's also seeing plenty of Olympic airtime. "There were a number of ways to execute this board, but we wanted it to look unique and stay true to the blue and white of the campaign," says Fahey, of why he chose Psyop's approach. "We do send the boards out to more than one place, but we usually have a hunch what technique will work."

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