DMB&B Takes Southwestern Bell Spot to Movie Theater Screens

By Trevor Jensen

CHICAGO–Southwestern Bell will makes its movie theater debut with an extended version of a spot for a wake-up call service created by D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in St. Louis.

The spot, ‘Rip Van Winkle,’ has been running in a 60-second format in the telecommunications company’s regional markets. But beginning Memorial Day weekend, a 90-second version will be seen before feature showings at St. Louis area theaters.

This is a new medium for the St. Louis-based division of SBC Communications, which needed a commercial entertaining enough to grab a movie audience.

‘We had been looking at (running a spot in the theaters) on this account for two years,’ said Ric Anello, senior vice president and group creative director at DMB&B. ‘Some creative is not easily elongated, others do not have enough entertainment.’

The special-effects laden commercial shows Rip Van Winkle waking up in the woods only to discover it is 1997. He looks up and sees an airplane flying over the Los Angeles skyline.

Walking into the bustling city, Rip is almost hit by a truck. On a television in a store’s display window, Rip hears an announcer asking, ‘Hey sleepyhead! Need a wake-up call?’ in an ad-within-an-ad for CallNotes wake-up service from Southwestern Bell. CallNotes is already an established product in Southwestern Bell’s five-state region, so the spot did not have to go heavy on explaining the product, Anello said.

A phone number–1-888-RipVanW–is flashed at the very end of the spot. The company will take a measure of how many calls the theater spot produces to judge the success of the medium.

Anello, of course, said he is expecting a good response. ‘(Theater patrons) are focused and they are in the frame of mind to watch,’ he said. ‘They are looking straight at the screen.’

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED