Friday, August 10, 2012

AT&T - Rethink Possible (24h Turnaround Commercials)

This blog has featured many campaigns that use the idea of real-time response of the sort pioneered by Old Spice, but recently picked up and expanded by the brands such as Kraft and o2.  In a fascinating twist, AT&T and their agency, BBDO NY, have created a series of real-time-ish TV spots as part of their 'Rethink Possible' campaign.  The TV commercials integrate actual Olympic results into a series of spots turning them around in less just 24 hours.  See the first spot below, which features swimmer Ryan Lochte.

Fast Company has a fascinating article on how BBDO NY went about doing this.  I highly recommend reading the whole thing, but in short:

Three sports were selected as the campaign’s focus--swimming, gymnastics, and track and field. BBDO then created six versions of the commercial in advance, two for each sport alternately featuring a male or female athlete, with hundreds of different endings to account for a predicted range of winning times. AT&T worked with longtime broadcasting partner NBC to arrange for access to the footage within unusually quick turnaround times so that they could create a campaign that would stand out from the hailstorm of sponsored messages. Once one of the athletes pegged as likely to win is competing, a team from BBDO sits in London and waits. If the athlete performs well, it’s go time. A winning result means that footage has to be selected, sent to London-based post house Absolute for integration, the pre-canned shot with the winning time has to be selected and edited together. It’s then sent to NBC and the USOC for approvals and on air within 24 hours of the win. It’s a cycle AT&T is able to repeat up to five times for five winning athletes.

Very cool and plays perfectly into the idea of 'Rethink Possible.'  As the BBDO ECD Greg Kahn explains:

We had the idea of someone who gets inspired to keep practicing after seeing a record being broken. But in playing around with that idea, we thought it would be really cool if the way that the story is told is also a kind of how did they do that.  The blue sky idea was wouldn’t it be awesome if the record he sees being broken was the one you just saw on TV?”