T-Mobile’s First of 4 Super Bowl Ads Pokes Fun at Long Texters

The carrier is running one ad per quarter

T-Mobile is poking fun at texting over-sharers in its first of 4 ads. T-Mobile

T-Mobile is spotlighting a relatable quirk of texting conversations in the first of its four Super Bowl ads.

The 30-second spot, titled “We’ll Keep This Brief,” features a phone messaging window with someone named Cathy, who responds to a simple “what’s up” with an endless philosophical rumination on her life. Produced by Panay Films, the ad is one of four T-Mobile is running in this year’s Super Bowl with the other set to air in each successive quarter.

Nick Drake, T-mobile’s evp of marketing and experience, said the company wasn’t set on running multiple Super Bowl ads when the planning process began, but the idea came together once the company saw the pitches Panay brought to the table.

“We’re always trying to keep things fresh. We’re a brand that really likes to go big and sort of stand out. We felt that this was a different way to go,” said Drake.

The four ads are part of a broader new campaign, and T-Mobile is using the Super Bowl’s massive reach to kickstart it.

“I think that the Super Bowl is still a phenomenal place to gain customer attention,” Drake said. “In this age of fragmented media, I think this is one of those tentpole moments where people really care about what brands are saying and are really dialed in, unlike any other time in the year.”

The big Super Bowl push marks the carrier’s sixth consecutive appearance in the Big Game. It previously ran four—two 30-second spots and two 60-second ads—in the 2017 game but opted for just one minute-long buy last year.

Second quarter:

T-Mobile announced a partnership with Taco Bell that will entitle subscribers to a free taco every Tuesday in the second of its four Super Bowl ads.

The second quarter ad featured a texter typing and then deleting passive-aggressive dinner suggestions to a partner before finally settling on a straightforward response.

Drake said this is the first time the company has used the Super Bowl as a venue to announce customer news.

“When [Taco Bell CMO Marisa Thalberg] and I managed to get this deal put together, we were thinking about what’s the suitable platform to announce this pretty big bit of customer news, and we thought the Super Bowl was the ideal moment,” Drake said.

Third quarter:

T-Mobile announced another marketing partnership in its third Super Bowl ad, this time with Lyft. The deal offers subscribers one free ride that can be cashed in any time this month after this Tuesday.

The 30-second third quarter ad featured a comical misinterpretation of the text, “I’m here.”

Fourth quarter:

T-Mobile’s fourth and final 30-second ad features an endearingly tech-illiterate dad mistaking his daughter for Siri.


@patrickkulp patrick.kulp@adweek.com Patrick Kulp is an emerging tech reporter at Adweek.