U.S. Sprint and J. Walter Thompson elevate the pitch of this 1990 Super Bowl ad -- soon-to-arrive voice dialing -- by invoking the power of the human voice to do all kinds of things, including leading revolution in the old Soviet Bloc. The ad aired on Jan. 28, 1990, less than a month after Václav Havel was elected president of Chechoslovakia, capping that country's Velvet Revolution.
Sometimes advertisers can use world events for their purposes, as in this case. Other times they can't, as in the following year's Super Bowl, when the bloodshed to expel Iraq from Kuwait spurred Diet Coke marketers to replace their planned advertising with a somber message ("Crack the Code").
In the Super Bowl a year earlier, Pepsi had run a minute-long ad linking its product with the new openness in the Soviet Union ("Glasnost").
Sprint returned to the Super Bowl in 1992 with another JWT spot, "Why Go Back."
AGENCY: J. Walter Thompson