A rom-com turns into a zombie flick in new work for AT&T

BBDO in L.A. mashes genres in longform cinema placements

Published On
Jul 17, 2018

Editor's Pick

A rom-com turns dark and a nail-biting cliff-side bus ride turns into a light-hearted musical in a new cinema campaign that mixes and matches genres from AT&T, created out of BBDO in L.A., with media via Hearts & Science.

The two ads, "Bus" and "Surprise," directed by Somesuch's Daniel Wolfe, are leveraging a media deal with National CineMedia, the country's largest cinema media vendor, to appear before films including "Jurassic World" and "Mama Mia: Here We Go Again."

They're part of AT&T's "More for your thing" platform, which debuted in February, and further plants the brand's stake in the entertainment world amid the ongoing saga of its proposed merger with Time Warner.

"Surprise," currently in theaters, is a rom-com spoof about a couple who kiss and make up in dramatic fashion only for darkness to fall and the girlfriend to tansform into a zombie. "Bus," which runs later this summer, starts out as a gripping drama of people on a treacherous detour but then morphs into "La La Land"-style song and choreography. Both 90-second films end with the line, "More for your thing, that's our thing."

AT&T introduced the platform to unite its offerings -- wireless, data, TV -- under a singular message. The cinema effort targets young viewers and debuts as the company is poised to move from telco to entertainment player.

The work "touches everything we do in our mobility and entertainment business," says Marc Burns, AT&T VP of advertising and social media.

The brief was "to cement AT&T as an entertainment player, going back to the core promise that the company is connecting people to the things they love," says BBDO L.A. co-Executive Creative Director David Povill.

Co-Executive Creator Director Dave Cuccinello says that BBDO's creative team of Kevin Mulroy and Dan Kenneally were behind the idea. "When you walk into the cinema a lot of the ads you see are longer, but they still feel like 'advertising,'" he says. "We really wanted something that when you started watching, you kind of didn't know -- and then there's that twist -- but you had to do this almost perfectly to get the viewer on a cinematic ride."

Wolfe, the director behind Libresse's Glass Lion Grand Prix-winning "Blood Normal" from AMV BBDO, is best known for bringing an artsy, off-kilter take to his films. But the agency says it also selected him for his breadth of cinematic knowledge.

"His treatment was like a doctoral thesis on film," says Povill.

The transitions between genres required strict attention to detail in all aspects of the filmmaking, he adds. Contributing to the work was color grading by Simon Bourne at Framestore and a score from Oscar and Grammy-winning composer Atticus Ross.

Burns says AT&T plans to continue the campaign using other film genres.

"We do social listening and we've got pages of tweets," says Burns. "That shows someone's watching this -- and they're either choosing to bring their phones out and tweet about it, or they're watching the movie, then still remembering the ad and then tweeting about it."


Jul 17, 2018
Brand :
Agency :
Chief Creative Officer :
David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer :
Greg Hahn
Group Executive Creative Director :
Matt MacDonald
Executive Creative Director :
David Povill
Executive Creative Director :
David Cuccinello
Creative Director :
Kevin Mulroy
Creative Director :
Dan Kenneally
Group Executive Producer :
Julie Collins
Executive Producer :
Jessica Coccaro
Director, Integrated Production :
David Rolfe
Business Manager :
Ashley Lipham
Executive Vice President, Managing Director :
Doug Walker
Executive Vice President, Managing Director :
Rachel Nairn
Senior Vice President, Senior Director :
David McKenzie
Account Supervisor :
Allie Knill
Senior Vice President, Director, Project Management :
Colin Vidika
Executive Vice President, Head of Integrated Planning :
Angela Jones
Communications Planning Director :
Mac Russell
Media Agency :
Hearts & Science
President :
Ralph Pardo
Group Director :
Vanessa Hartley
Supervisor :
Kat Hamilton
Media Director :
Andres Torrente
Brand Director :
Tim Switzer
Production Company :
Anonymous Content X Somesuch
Founding Partner :
Tim Nash
Executive Producer :
Nicky Barnes
Director :
Daniel Wolfe
Line Producer :
Tom Martin
Director, Photography :
Tom Townend
Editorial Company :
Cosmo Street
Editorial Company :
Trim Editorial
Executive Producer :
Maura Woodward
Head of Production :
Anne Lai
Editor :
Tom Lindsay
Assistant Editor :
Alex Morales
Assistant Editor :
Ben Elkaim
Assistant Editor :
Habib Semaan
Original Music and Sound Design :
Barking Owl
Creative Director/Partner :
Kelly Bayett
Sound Design :
Morgan Johnson
Composer, Bus :
Adrian Rossi
Composer, Bus :
Jacob Plasse
Arranger :
Houston Fry
Composer, Surprise :
Atticus Ross
Audio Finishing :
Sonic Union
Engineer :
Steve Rosen
Engineer :
Mike Marinelli
Engineer :
Paul Weiss
Producer :
Justine Cortale
Producer :
Pat Sullivan

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