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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

watch it: AT&T 1993 “You Will” Ads


The 1993 date on these ads is a tad outside what I’d been thinking of as “retro” for Thursday’s retro TV ad web video of the day: I’d previously not featured anything newer than the 1980s. And that will continue to be the case here (for a while, at least). I’m making an exception for these ads for a couple of reasons. One, if it takes “20 years” for something to be retro, well, 1993 is almost there. Two, I’ve been trying to find these ads forever, because they so stuck in my mind, and I had no luck. (I can’t believe the upload date on YouTube is 2006! I searched much more recently than that, to no avail. Weird.)

Third, they’re so interesting in how they got so much right and a few things wrong.

The “Have you ever sent someone a fax from the beach?” bit is pretty hilarious. So is “Have you ever tucked your baby in from a phone booth?” Fax? Phone booth? Still, it’s the mom traveling in the baby bit, not the dad (and is that Jenna Elfman as the mom?). And the interracial couple in the pregnancy bit feels surprising.

These ads really captured my imagination in the same way that Blade Runner and Max Headroom did, but without being scary about it. However AT&T has fallen down in bringing us the future, they were at least thinking about it in realistic ways.



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