Thanks to a new promotion from AT&T Wireless, you can bring even your most annoying friend to the movies for free—because someone's gotta take that extra seat.
A new campaign from BBDO New York and Atlanta educates consumers on the perks of signing up for the telecom giant's service … and the indignities they'll suffer at the hands of people they know, thanks to programs like Ticket Twosdays, a once-a-week, buy-one-get-one-free offer in partnership with theater chains like AMC and Regal.
In one ad, a professional chef invites his married pal to join him for a flick, only to be subject to an absurd volley of waffling between husband and wife about the husband's availability on a weekday evening.
In another, a college student asks a classmate out on a date, only to get steamrolled by her and her boyfriend, who end up walking away with both tickets—and the hapless bachelor's phone.
In a third, a young Southern woman shares her bounty with a slightly shorter, blonder version of herself, prompting a stream of parrot-like responses listing the mundane things her friend loves—to the point where it's hard to imagine her loving anything at all.
In the fourth (and best) ad, a guy at a hospital bedside laments the fact that his neck-braced buddy can't join him for a showing … only to be cut off when the patient jumps out of bed, rips out his IVs, and grabs his pills—rallying at the mere mention of a free movie.
The commercials are entertaining and tightly written, if (deliberately) awkward. On further consideration, it's lamentable that their portrayals of women are generally unflattering clichés—consider the needy, indecisive wife, the manipulative co-ed and the vapid, disingenuous belle.
Some of the men depicted also feel less than heroic, to be fair. It's a cringe-inducing moment when the chump Romeo's smartphone passcode is the birthday of his unrequited love; her boyfriend is also a typical meathead.
The fact that people behave ridiculously, both in general and when presented with a simple and benevolent choice, seems to be the insight the campaign is skewering in its play for laughs. But it leans heavily on hackneyed tropes, and risks reinforcing gender stereotypes—insidiously, and unnecessarily, in that way the male-dominated advertising industry can sometimes do without meaning to, or even noticing.
Agency: BBDO New York
Campaign: Ticket Twosdays
Chief Creative Officer Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer New York: Greg Hahn
Executive Creative Director: Matt MacDonald
Creative Director//Copy Writer: Kevin Mulroy
ACD//Art Director: Bianca Guimaraes
Head of Integrated Production: Dave Rolfe
Group Executive Producer: Julie Collins
Senior Content Producer: Whitney Collins
Executive Music Producer: Melissa Chester
Managing Director, BBDO North America: Mark Cadman
Managing Director: Doug Walker
Group Account Director: Lesley Brown
Account Director: Khari Mpagazehe
Account Executive: Jenn Wang
Production Company: Arts & Sciences
Director: Matt Aselton
Director of Photography: Corey Walter
Executive Producer: Marc Marrie
Managing Director: Mal Ward
Head of Production: Christa Skotland
Producer: Zoe Odlum
Production Supervisor: Bailey Reeves
Editing Company: Arcade Edit
Editor: Dave Anderson & Sean LaGrange
Executive Producer: Sila Soyer
Assistant Editor: Elizabeth Parsons
Visual Effects: Spontaneous
Head of Production: Chris Decker
Executive Producer: Bryce Edwards
VFX Supervisor: Andy Milkis
Sound Design (Impulsive Friend): Trinitite
Sound Designer ("Impulsive Friend"): Brian Emrich
Audio Mixing: Sonic Union
Audio Engineer: Steve Rosen