BBDO N.Y. Hits ‘Close to Home’ for AT&T

By Erik Oster 

This year marks the fifth year of BBDO New York’s “It Can Wait” campaign for AT&T, which up to this point has focused on the dangers of texting while driving. The agency’s latest addition, however, expands to include other forms of smart phone use on the road, following a survey which found that seven out of ten people engage in smartphone activities while driving, such as social media, email and web surfing.

The lengthy online spot opens on a young boy riding a bike, riding around a suburban neighborhood, with his internal monologue as voiceover, setting up the expectation (given they type of ad this is), that a collision, or near collision, with the boy will occur later in the ad. This is not the case however, as the spot takes time to flesh out details for many characters, not just those who factor directly into its eventual crash, but even passers-by and witnesses. Not only does this make the scene seem more real, it leaves viewers guessing as to when the inevitable tragedy will occur, making it almost seem like a surprise when it does (even if you’ve been expecting it the whole time). That moment occurs thanks to a glance at a social media post to see how many likes it has received, underscoring the evolving nature of mobile-enabled distracted driving. Following the collision, the action slowly reverses to show the scene just before the accident, followed by the message “No post is worth a life,” with the word “post” then changing to “glance,” “email,” “search” and “text” accompanied by the voiceover, “AT&T reminds you, it can wait.”

Like its predecessors, the spot is a powerful reminder of the dangers of distracted driving, while the larger focus on cell phone use beyond texting targets a broader range of dangerous distracted driving behavior. It would be easier to fault the ad’s length runtime if it didn’t so effectively establish the action and flesh out its characters, making them feel like real people as the action, directed by Frederic Planchon, effectively switches between different perspectives. Hopefully viewers aren’t put off by the length and heed the warnings “Close to Home” provides about smart phone use while driving.


Client: AT&T
Agency: BBDO New York
Title: Close To Home

Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
Executive Creative Director: Matt MacDonald
Senior Creative Director: LP Tremblay
Senior Creative Director: Erik Fahrenkopf
CD/Art Director: Grant Mason
CD/Copywriter: Kevin Mulroy

Director of Integrated Production: David Rolfe
Group Executive Producer: Julie Collins
Executive Producer: Dan Blaney
Music Producer: Melissa Chester
Senior Integrated Business Manager: Cristina Blanco

Managing Director: Mark Cadman
Senior Account Director: Brian Nienhaus
Account Director: Gati Curtis
Account Manager: Johnny Wardell
Account Executive: Sigourney Hudson-Clemons

Production Company: Anonymous Content
Director: Frederic Planchon
Executive Producer: Eric Stern
Producer: Paul Ure
Director of Photography: Jody Lee Lipes

Editorial: WORK Editorial
Editor: Rich Orrick
Assistant Editors: Adam Witten and Trevor Myers
Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
Producer: Sari Resnick

Visual Effects: The Mill
EP/Head of Production: Sean Costelloe
Line Producer: Nirad ‘Bugs’ Russell
VFX Supervisor : Gavin Wellsman
2D Leads: Gavin Wellsman; Krissy Nordella
2D Compositor: Michael Smith; Chris Sonia, Keith Sullivan
2D Assists: Heather Kennedy; Sungeun Moon, Yoon-sun Bae, Marco Giampaolo
3D: Yili Orana , Corey Langelotti
Pre Vis Artist: Jeffrey Lee
Editor: Charlotte Carr
Designer: Clemens den Exter

Color:  The Mill
Colorist: Aline Sinquin

Music House: Grooveworx
Executive Producer: Dain Blair
Sound Design: Brian Emrich
Original music composed by Rob Simonsen

Sound: Sonic Union
Sound Mixer: Steve Rosen

Motions Graphics and Titles: Polyester