Thursday, September 24, 2009

A View From the Phlipside #2

These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown

My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside

I like to pick on bad commercials so in the spirit of being fair I'll point out one that I think does a really nice job. There's a new AT&T commercial out there that really grabbed me the first time I saw it. For transparency's sake I will note that I am an AT&T subscriber. I will also note that they don't make me happy enough to want to do any sucking up to them here. The spot is just good.

It's the lost puppy spot. If you haven't seen it a little girl is mournfully stapling posters to phone poles (someone needs to tell this child I'm pretty sure that's illegal). A young man sees here and sends out a text to his friends with a photo of the flyer. They send it to all their friends, and soon the dog is found and reunited with its happy owner. Smiles all 'round and a big ole AWWWWWWWW ending.

What makes me really like this commercial has nothing to do with cute little girls or puppy dogs. AT&T shows exactly what the concept of social media is all about. They don't waste time touting phones with all the latest gadgets, they don't try and explain how some new phone plan that is completely incomprehensible to any reasonably intelligent person is actually a good idea. They show how a simple thing like a text message and photo on your cell phone can bring people together. Ever wonder what the term "going viral" means in modern techno talk? Watch the spot and see on a modest scale exactly what going viral is all about. The reality is that most of us just want our cell phones to work, we want them to help us communicate and help us connect with other people who matter to us. Lots of other cellular service ads have tried the same thing. Sprint had a series of commercials that included things like "What If Firefighters Ran The World?". They were fun but didn't connect at the simple, every day, real life kind of level that this AT&T does. This if the kind of situation all of us can imagine seeing ourselves in. It shows the medium being used in a way that brings the user out into the world and involves them with their fellow human beings. Directly opposed to a common view of what electronic communications does. Too often the companies try and get too clever, or too complex with what turns out to be a very simple concept.

Sometimes it really is just about using your phone to re-unite a little girl and her puppy. Go ahead, you know you want to...AWWWWWWWWWW.

Call that the view from the Phlipside

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