In 1993, AT&T launched a bold new advertising campaign with the theme "You Will." The ads were directed by David Fincher, who was then best known for directing Paula Abdul, Aerosmith, and Madonna music videos, plus the third Alien movie in 1992.
The AT&T spots provided visions of the future in which technology helped with everyday problems. In one spot, a father reads a bedtime story to his kid via a videoconference. In another, a businessman sends a fax from the beach using a tablet device. The voiceover says: "[Have you ever] sent someone a fax...from the beach? You will. And the company that'll bring it to you: AT&T."
On behalf of all beach-faxing business dudes, I encourage you to witness the future, as we saw it twenty years ago. Actually very close to reality, just not so much with the faxing:
And here's one predicting, among other things, video phone booths and a no-stopping toll road payment system (the latter exist all over the place). As for the video phone booth, they're right on with the phone part, minus the booth bit.
And here's a compilation of all the "You Will" spots (including the two above). It's only three and a half minutes long. Note at 1:30, the concept of video-on-demand, which then seemed futuristic but now seems absolutely normal...and indeed is the whole basis of this post. Enjoy!
In 2011, AT&T rebooted the spots with a vision of the future as it might be in 2020. Behold, holographic George Washington teaching kids history:
This Amazing Clock Has a Different Hand for Every Minute of the Day
BY Kirstin Fawcett
August 10, 2017
In the video below, you can watch Japanese ad agency Dentsu transform passing time into art. According to Adweek, the project was commissioned by Japanese stationery brand Hitotoki, which produces crafting materials. To celebrate the value of handmade items in an increasingly fast-paced world, Dentsu created a film advertisement for their client depicting their goods as a stop-motion clock.
The timepiece ticks off all 1440 minutes in the day, and was assembled in real-time against a colored backdrop during a single 24-hour take. Its "hands" were crafted from different combinations of some 30,000 disparate small items, including confetti, cream puffs, tiny toys, silk leaves, and sunglasses.
"In a world where everything is so hectic and efficient, we wanted to bring the value of 'handmade' to life," explains Dentsu art director Ryosuke Miyashita in a press statement quoted by Stash Media. "We created different combinations of small Hitotoki brand items to express each and every minute."
You can check out a promotional video for the project below, which details the arduous crafting process, or view a real-time version of the clock here.
If you’re a stickler for the correct usage of “who” versus “whom,” or if you find yourself seething over the “10 Items or Less” sign at the grocery store, you have something in common with Walter Cronkite.
As a respected journalist and news anchor, Cronkite was very careful about his words, from his enunciation of them to the tone in which he said them—so you can imagine his indignation at being asked to deliver a line with purposely incorrect grammar.
In 1954, shortly after being named the host of a morning show on CBS, Cronkite was tasked with a live-read of a Winston cigarette ad. Though it’s hard to imagine Anderson Cooper or Lester Holt concluding a segment with an earnest plug for Budweiser or McDonald’s, anchor-read endorsements were commonplace in the 1950s. Cronkite had a problem with the commercial, but it wasn’t the product he took umbrage with—it was the tagline: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.”
Though it may sound fine to most ears, the word “like” is actually used inappropriately. Traditionally, “like” is used as a preposition and “as” is used as a conjunction, but the Winston ad treats “like” as a conjunction, or a connecting word.
Here’s the line in action. Just a warning: If you’re a grammar purist, the phrase “tastes real good” is also sure to raise your hackles.
Cronkite refused to say the line as it was written. Instead, he delivered it the correct way: “Winston tastes good as a cigarette should.” His former English teachers may have been beaming at their television sets, but the execs at R.J. Reynolds, Winston’s parent company, weren’t so happy, and neither was their ad agency. The agency pounced on Cronkite’s correction, but he remained unapologetic. “I can’t do an ungrammatical thing like that,” he told them.
Wording wasn’t the only problem—his smoking, or lack thereof, was also an issue. Cronkite wasn’t a cigarette smoker, but after delivering the offending line to the cameras, he was supposed to take a puff from a Winston. Though he obliged, he didn’t inhale. The agency reprimanded Cronkite for that as well, feeling that a spokesperson who clearly didn’t use the product couldn't convince viewers to pick up a pack. They asked Cronkite to inhale on camera—and that’s where he drew the line. “Let’s just call this thing off,” he says he told them. “CBS was up in the rafters, of course, about it at the time.” It was Cronkite's first and only commercial.
Here’s the story straight from the anchor himself:
For the record, Cronkite wasn’t the only high-profile person who had a problem with the Winston wording. “Like goes Madison Avenue, like so goes the nation,” Ogden Nash wrote in The New Yorker.
Years later, Winston tried to capitalize on the controversy with a commercial that depicted a professor lecturing his students about the sloppily worded slogan. The students doth protest, jumping up in unison and saying, “What do you want, good grammar or good taste?”
Unimpressed, The Wall Street Journalresponded to the question in a 1970 op-ed: “It doesn’t matter which you want. In a Winston ad, you don’t get either.”