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Not often are AT&T and whimsical used in the same sentence. But add 150 mettlesome computer mouses-not mice-to the AT&T image, and whimsy is one of the first words that comes to mind.

In its most recent spot for AT&T Business Communications Services, McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, spent four days filming 150 computer mouses wreaking havoc at an office. The mob of mouses cause things like network outages, fax failures and disruptions in cellular calls.

Using both remote control devices and monofilament wiring to animate the mouses, McCann created a 30-second spot where mouses playfully break through windows and heating vents, push fax machines off desks and throw filing cabinets out windows. The voice-over is by Dick Cavett, using the tagline "AT&T. For the life of your business."

"We tried to dramatize the little things-represented by the mouses-that can sneak up on you in the office and bite you," said David Moore, senior creative director on the AT&T Business account. "The mouse is just as popular as a stapler in an office nowadays. But the fact that they have sort of a high-tech halo creates an image for AT&T as being an innovative and forward-thinking company."

Adding ever more whimsy to the spot, the mouses are shown scurrying out of the near-ruined office upon hearing a janitor say hello to a Mr. Katz who just happens to be working late that evening.

The spot, which broke on Oct. 17 and will run indefinitely on network, cable and spot buys, is just one in a campaign called "Uncertainty" aimed at assuring business customers their AT&T long-distance lines are reliable.

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