AT&T Wants to Keep Your Kids Entertained on Long Road Trips With In-Car Wi-Fi Service

No more 'Are we there yet?'

AT&T today is launching its first ad campaign dedicated to shining a light on its growing Wi-Fi network in connected cars.

For an endeavor called "A Whole New Ride," social media and web display ads begin today and run through July 5, hoping to capture an audience of soon-to-be vacationing parents ahead of Memorial Day and until Independence Day weekend. In addition, pre-roll video will begin appearing on Friday, also ending the day after July 4th. BBDO and Organic are the agencies behind the campaign, which will eventually include television commercials in the coming weeks, but the spots' launch date has yet to be determined.

The appeal ties into how the telecom giant has relationships with 19 auto brands like BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Ford and Chevrolet. AT&T added 1.2 million connected cars to its Wi-Fi network in the first quarter this year, bringing its total to more than 8 million vehicles. Owners of these newer cars can get Wi-Fi from AT&T for $10 a month, an offer that appears as a call-to-action in the ads. 

The campaign is playful. In one instance, the creative points to the idea that road-tripping families can turn their car into a Wi-Fi hotspot thanks to AT&T, so mom and dad will no longer have to worry about entertaining the kiddos in the back seat. In another example, a trio of children—one at a time—coyly brag about their in-car good behavior against the backdrop of an interstate travel plaza. 

"For this campaign, we chose to highlight the Wi-Fi hotspot from a kid's point of view during big road trip holidays, playing on the anticipation of kids asking the dreaded, 'Are we there yet?'" added Chris Penrose, svp of AT&T's Internet of Things Solutions. "You'll see that kids aren't as anxious to get to their destination when they're entertained."

You don't have to be a kid nowadays to understand such need-to-be-connected anxiety.

For instance, an AutoTrader study earlier this year found that among 77 percent of car shoppers—adults, in other words—technology was more important than car color. And they weren't likely referring to windshield wipers.