It could have been so lame. AT&T could have bombed badly. In its “Anniversary” spot, the production team could have given us the typical, self-absorbed type-A hotshot, forgetting all about a planned anniversary dinner with his wife. And we’d have been forced to watch as he smugly covered his error by making a dinner reservation while on the phone with his wife– using that lone benefit of the iPhone on AT&T’s network: the ability to surf the web while you are talking.
But they didn’t settle for typical casting, , and the result is one of the most watchable spots I’ve seen in some time. The businessman, who gets the reminder call from his wife as he is working late, is no stud, and no driven overachiever. He is, instead, a stocky, likable fellow who seems less like a young turk than an average Joe struggling to get his work done. His stammering conversation with his wife proves he feels guilty for forgetting and doesn’t want to hurt her feelings by admitting it. He’s a bumblingly heroic figure as he gathers his work and clutches it to his chest as he hurries out the door.
The actor plays the part to perfection, generating all kinds of empathy in the process. We viewers want him to get away with it. We LIKE him! Had the agency production team opted for the “expected” type , we’d have been hoping for the spot to end with a frying pan through the windshield of whatever high-end sport sedan they had put him in.
But our guy? No problem. Spare the frying pan. We’re in his corner. (And if he isn’t driving a Ford Taurus, he probably has the family minivan at work. )
So good job, everyone. Nice concept. Nice demo of the thin competitive benefit enjoyed by AT&T over Verizon. And of course, great casting. Which, as I have been pointing out a lot lately, can make all the difference.