AT&T Encourages People To Put Down The Phone For The Holidays

The pull of the smartphone is strong, even during the holidays, when people are supposed to be focused on friends and family. 

This year, AT&T is encouraging people to put down their devices and give “the present of being present.” In a new television commercial (from agency BBDO), a teenage girl is shown choosing her phone over her family in various situations, such as leaving a family gathering to answer a text and taking selfies with a friend while the family is ice skating, much to her family’s disappointment. The spot ends with the girl giving her phone to her dad as a present, and closing scenes show the girl happily conversing at the holiday table.  



“Smartphones and tablets are a huge part of our lives nowadays, but we have noticed that consumers are expressing the need for a ‘digital detox,’” Meredith Vincent,  executive director of advertising at AT&T Mobility, tells Marketing Daily. “The holidays are a perfect time to take a digital break and connect with loved ones.”

In addition to the commercial, which will run on Dec. 24 and 25 only, AT&T is pulling all of its retail spots from TV and its social channels to ensure the only communications from the company will be its holiday message. 

“We know that our customers love their smartphones, and because of that we provide them an important service on a daily basis,” Vincent says. “But we saw the opportunity to highlight the benefit of recharging and the importance of spending quality time with friends and family.”

The message is likely to be a positive one for consumers. According to new research from Sequence, 44% of consumers say it’s never appropriate to use a smartphone at the holiday dinner table (though 31% admitted the use is acceptable for taking and sharing photos).

“Consumers are consistently willing to accept photos and taking photos at the holiday table,” Jojo Roy, chief executive officer of Sequence, tells Marketing Daily. “Where there’s tension is when there’s a social gathering and people are looking at their screens.” 

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