U.S. Cellular “Crayon”

This U.S. Cellular commercial by Publicis & Hal Riney features the celebrated crayon sculptures of artist Diem Chau to emphasize the value of contacts stored on customers’ phones — and the importance of protecting
them. As a minimal piano track plays, streams of color pull away from each other and the camera follows as they each return to their points of origin: Chau’s carved Crayon people. As the melted wax makes its way back up each vertical Crayon, the reverse action rebuilds the faces and forms of the sculptures as a voiceover tells viewers to “think about the people on your phone” and ask  “whose number did you get first? Who do you call most?” Those numbers, of course, represent real people in users’ lives — and with U.S. Cellular’s contact backup, no matter what happens, “your numbers stay just how you imagined them.” The close-ups of the different faces that make up the unique menagerie are beautiful. It’s nice to see an ad for a cellular company give consumers something more gentle, warm and artistic than the usual chatter about plans, coverage and phone functions. But in the end, the spot feels more like a visual means of bringing Chau’s art to life than a strategy to deliver a product message.--Eleftheria Parpis