Ad of the Day: AT&T Packs Loads of Classic TV and Film References Into Giddy DirecTV Ad

One for the fans

Until now, we could only imagine the awesomeness that would ensue if KITT and Michael of Knight Rider, Cliff and Norm from Cheers and Sesame Street’s Big Bird starred in the same commercial.

But behold—a TV fanatic’s crossover dream come true.

BBDO brings this fantasy landscape to life in “Everywhere,” an immensely fun minute-long spot touting AT&T’s service that lets users stream live and recorded DirecTV content across their mobile devices without it counting against their data caps.

Staged in grand style by director Tom Kuntz, who’s worked on DirecTV campaigns before—included the famous “Cable Effects” ads—the new spot fairly crackles with TV and film references, cool cameos and familiar music cues.

After a quick homage to Rocky, the ad tosses in nods to Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, SportsCenter, Sex and the City and Seinfeld, among others. You’ll want to watch the clip multiple times to take in everything that’s going on:

“Our hope is that viewers will really begin to look at AT&T from a whole new perspective,” Dave Brown, AT&T Entertainment Group director of advertising, tells Adweek. “The past few years have been really exciting when you think about where we are going and what we are now bringing to our customers. You can watch a blockbuster movie on your commute to work and we help make that possible. We want to bring a little bit of that wow we feel to our customers in a way that reflects this new reality.”

David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, Cheers stars John Ratzenberger and George Wendt and costumed Big Bird actor Matt Vogel filmed new scenes for the ad. Alas, they don’t actually appear on screen together, but it’s fitting that each gets a few frames in the spotlight as the story unfolds.

“We wanted to use shows and movies across the entertainment spectrum, from modern to classic, to really give the viewer the sense that everything is at your fingertips,” says BBDO New York executive creative director Steven Fogel. “At the same time, it was important that the music be very recognizable and iconic, and that each piece work well as a part of the music track.”

The spot smartly channels a basic giddy truth of media/pop-culture fandom. For many of us, elements of classic series and films—beloved scenes, infectious theme songs, snatches of dialogue and catchphrases—are constantly running through our minds. So, it’s only right that we should be able to watch our favorites whenever and wherever we choose.

“David Hasselhoff literally flew in from Brussels on his day, turned into Michael Knight, shot, handed out ‘Don’t hassle the Hoff’ T-shirts to the crew, and then immediately flew back,” recalls Doug Fallon, also an ecd at BBDO New York.

Hoff … take us with you! (And let us do the driving for a while.)

Client: AT&T
Title: “Everywhere”

Agency: BBDO Atlanta, BBDO New York
Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
Executive Creative Director, AT&T: Matt MacDonald
Executive Creative Director, AT&T Entertainment Group: Steven Fogel
Executive Creative Director, AT&T Entertainment Group: Doug Fallon
Senior Creative Director: Rob Munk
Senior Creative Director: Mark Voehringer
Art Director: Kristin Clark
Copywriter: Matt Low

Group Executive Producer: Julie Collins
Executive Producer: Matt Nowak
Executive Music Producer: Melissa Chester
Junior Producer: Victoria Wills

Managing Director: Doug Walker
Group Account Director: Lesley Brown
Account Director: Khari Mpagazehe
Account Executive: Noelle Bough

Production Company: MJZ
Director: Tom Kuntz
Director of Photography: Matthew Libatique
President: David Zander
Senior Executive Producer: Eriks Krumins
Producer: Emily Skinner
Production Designer: Jahmin Assa

Editorial: Mackcut
Editor: Gavin Cutler
Assistant Editor: Pamela Petruski
Executive Producer: Gina Pagano

Mix: Mackcut
Sound Designer & Mixer: Sam Shaffer

Post Production: The Beauty Shop
Executive Producer:  Stuart Robinson
Senior Colorist: Company 3 // Tim Masick
Senior Color Producer: Company 3 // Rochelle Brown
Visual Effects: The Beauty Shop // Method Studios
Creative Director/VFX Supervisor:  Method Studios // Doug Luka
Creative Director: Method Studios // Eduardo ‘Alvin’ Cruz
CG Supervisor: Method Studios // Ivan Guerrero
Senior Producer: Method Studios // Bennett Lieber
Lead Flame Artist: Method Studios // Mario Caserta

Music: Beta Petrol
Music by Beta Petrol
Composer: Rafter Roberts
Creative Director: Bryan Ray Turcotte
Executive Producer(s): Dayna Turcotte and Brent Asbury
Producer/Engineer: Andy Brohard

Media: Hearts & Science
President, AT&T: Ralph Pardo
Executive Director: Melissa Kimble

The Marketing Arm/Platinum Rye Entertainment
Managing Director: Matt Delzell
Senior Director: Kristen Hellwig
Director: Amanda Levine

Cast and shot list in order of appearance:
Cheers (John Ratzenberger and George Wendt as Cliff and Norm)
Breaking Bad
Game of Thrones
Sex and the City
Sesame Street (Matt Vogel as Big Bird)
Knight Rider (David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight and KITT as himself)
Back to the Future
Lead actor: Joel Kelley Dauten, star of the upcoming Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.