Think AT&T Was Pretty Smart? You Will

I always loved the late 80s/early 90s AT&T ad campaign dubbed “You Will.” Remember that one? The campaign voiced by Magnum P.I. himself, Tom Selleck, depicted near-future scenarios in which technology would afford seemingly incredible feats of connectivity. To a pre-Internet populace, these little vignettes bordered on Blade Runner sci-fi.

After reviewing a compiled montage of these fantastic, forward-looking clips, it would appear that AT&T batted nearly 1.000 in their predictions (the video payphones didn’t quite happen.) Sure, sure…AT&T wasn’t solely responsible for these innovations, but it was still a pretty bold campaign. It’s always stuck with me…nearly 20 years later.

Have a look:

Admittedly, I haven’t been faxing from the beach, too much. But you have to admire the vision of a tablet back when carphones weighed about 15 pounds, Windows ran on 4MB of RAM and your GPS was Floyd down at the Texaco station.

These sort of future vision videos have mileage when they’re done right. I doubt AT&T ever imagined the resurrection and preservation of that campaign in a world of viral video…particularly since no one had the faintest idea of what a “viral video” was in the early 90s. But I think of a few recent entries in this visionary vein that have garnered a lot of chatter. Check out the well-circulated Microsoft “Future Vision” spot (one of many) and the recent YouTube darling (and Microsoft homage), Corning’s “A Day Made of Glass” samples below.

With a true creative vision to communicate, solid production values and an ample supply of confident courage, visionary videos can stand to deliver solid ROI and an enduring boost to your company’s innovative reputation. Think it’s worth the effort? You will.

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