Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It's NOT Complicated. *Tiffany's been waiting to cover this campaign!*

McDonald’s losing Millennial audiences; suffering in sales of product to 20-somethings; major menu redo to gain market share. While a thoroughly interesting issue and story, one of which I’ve regarded curiously lately (see my retweet at R_TiffanyAnne) I knew in this issue of Ad Age I had to turn directly to the article on AT&T’s “Not Complicated” campaign, aka my favorite TV spots, perhaps, ever! Forget the major headline stuff this week, I want to know who made those spots, what was the inspiration and are those adorably rambling first-graders scripted or natural?

To quote one of my fav pigtailed stars from these spots, “I want more, I want more, I like it I want more.” In November we had the first chance to catch one of the “Not Complicated” spots where a group of four children and one straight-edged man help us understand the one-ups AT&T has over competitor’s wireless networks. As Ad Age put it, “the secret sauce was in the first-graders imaginations.” BBDO, Atlanta brainstormed a simple concept, with remarkable flexibility that enables producers to hone in on one clear message at a time, illustrated with a hilarious, surprisingly human effect.

While the NBA version is “ok” (however, my husband was most impressed by the star collection of athletes), “dizzy boy” wiggling his head while waving his hand – aka “multitasking message” – in front of an overly impressed moderator makes me laugh out loud every time I watch. So, was this tiny tike told to yabber-on about how much he could shake and wiggle, or was this a natural occurrence? “Guided improve” as I’ve come to understand. Scripts were prepared in case nothing was useable, but otherwise moderator Beck Bennett who is also part of comedy group Good Neighbor, guided foursomes of six-year-olds through whatever their imagination brought them while talking through topics like the importance of fast versus slow.

Each round of spots required shooting four or five different groups of kids a day, with two hours devoted to each group. Overly talkative kids were paired with attentive but not as “big energy” children as Ad Age specified, (we all understand how kids can go off subject). During editing if the spot felt too scripted or unnatural, it was ditched. The result is a series of comedy spots that have become a pop-culture phenomenon, drawing praise not just from the industry but from your buddy at the water cooler too.