Ever heard of Beck Bennett? Bet you will soon.
I was originally going to make this post another tribute to excellent casting. By now, you’ve all seen the AT&T 4G spots that feature batches of kids interacting with a dryly humorous presenter. The campaign, themed “It’s Not Complicated” touts the large AT&T network, and uses simplistic “even a kid knows that” kind of logic to support the featured benefit.
It’s not a brand new idea, of course; kids saying funny things have been the basis of campaigns (and TV shows, for that matter) for many decades. To me, the beauty in the spots is the wonderfully fine line being walked by the adult. He treats the kids with respect, and appears to earnestly be soliciting their opinions on the questions asked.
But as I investigated the campaign, I learned that perhaps the real beauty in this story is the way social media is at work around the edges. First, the interviewer is a fellow named Beck Bennett, who grew up near my old home in Chicago and went to USC and studied acting, pursuing comedy activities on the side. Before getting his big break in this AT&T campaign, Bennett attracted a small following through a series of web shorts called ‘Fresh Perspectives” – a pseudo news round table in which he plays the same type of straight-man moderator to groups of kid experts who weigh in, sort of, on topical issues. Check one out here!
But that’s not social media’s only role in this story. First, the AT&T campaign is among the most “Tweeted-about” campaigns currently running, and is drawing a great deal of praise and comment in several on-line forums. But someone – presumably Beck Bennett – is also using social media to maximize his name recognition in the process. My search turned up several YouTube entries with titles like ‘AT&T TV Commercial ‘Bigger or Smaller’ Starring Beck Bennett.” Many of these spots are located at ispot.tv, a forum that allows you to post and share whatever commercials you like, labeled however you want them. If you want to add “Starring Beck Bennett” in large type, go ahead. (I presume “Watched by Mike Marn” would be fine, as well.)
Anyone searching for those AT&T spots for any reason will quickly come across the name of the adult star of the spots (whether they wanted to know or not). Bennett does a very nice job in these spots, and he simply wants you (and all the directors, producers, and booking agents out there) to know who he is. Fortunately with social media, it’s not complicated!