AT&T Alter Ego commercials

I really like the new series of AT&T “More bars, in more places” Alter Ego commercials, where you hear what the person’s phone would be saying as the phone owner misses a critically important message.

Ronnie’s phone (Motorhead tickets)

Bradshaw’s phone (Hong Kong greeting)

Kelly’s Dad’s phone (Lover’s Lane)

Chuck’s phone (basketball tickets)

Jen’s phone (date with handsome Paul)

Brad’s phone (no star hotel in France)

Chad’s phone (on the nudist beach in Spain)

Mary’s phone (Phelps Phan)

Ned’s phone (merger in Finland)

Greg’s phone (in Brussels with the Techno Twins)

Nancy’s phone (kid’s party/Freddie the fun-loving dinosaur)

Jeff’s phone (housesitting/arrest)

Howard’s phone (exploding frozen deep fried turkey)

Slate Sanchez’s phone (reporter at demolition site but in wrong blast zone)

Snowball’s phone (snowman caught in a heat wave at the winter cottage – see commercial credits at the Inspiration Room)

LindaBeth at The Reaction doesn’t appear to like them, but I do, stereotypes and all. Let’s face it — they’re not meant to be paragons of political correctness. But they are funny (to most people I know, anyway) and they certainly stick in your head. Then again, I did go “parking” (and lie to my parents about what I was up to — we weren’t alone up there so I presume loads of the rest of you were doing it, too, unless you really *were* watching the submarine races) and I did have massive crushes on celebrities so maybe I just see some of myself in the two Mary and Kelly commercials. Personally, I would take the lack of strong female characters in those commercials as a good thing since the featured people are, well, idiots. The lesson I learn from the series of commercials is that girls apparently stop being idiots when they grow up but boys , not so much. also something to say about the Brad/no-star-hotel commercial, namely that it seems to be French-bashing. I didn’t get that from the commercial at all, but then I’m not looking for that kind of thing (and I can’t claim to have been a fly on the wall while they were brainstorming the commercial, either). IMO the location was really irrelevant. Think of it as “Not the US” instead of “France”, with France being a fairly safe country choice to represent the Rest of the World. I’d’ve laughed if they’d used, say, Nova Scotia instead.

Ian Swenson is sort of a fan of the commercials. Good to know I’m not alone, though I actually like the Ronnie commercial. Granted, I think it was the first one I saw and you always remember your first fondly. 😉

Other people’s reactions range between the two polar opposites — liking and loathing. Some are offended at people who don’t use AT&T being called “idiots”; others are disturbed by gender or sociological repercussions; some just think they’re entertaining. Your mileage may vary.


44 thoughts on “AT&T Alter Ego commercials

  1. Michael

    My buddy noticed something with the spain commercial…
    Watch the actors lips closely when he says “Spain”. It’s been edited 🙂
    We can’t figure out what he said originally though…

  2. Ooh, saw a glimpse of a new one the other day. “Ned’s phone (merger in Finland)”. Haven’t found it yet on Youtube but I did find another new one, Greg’s phone (in Brussels), that I’ve added to the post.

  3. Michael, I finally got to see that commercial again on TV (thought maybe the Youtube upload got messed up in the conversion), and you’re right. He doesn’t seem to have originally said Spain. Now, whether that means they decided to change the location used after it was filmed or the actor messed up and had to redub it correctly later, I don’t know.

  4. Texrat

    The “Ned’s phone” commercial portrays Finns COMPLETELY wrong. You would NEVER see a meeting get like that in Finland.

  5. David, because the merger hadn’t gone through yet.

    Texrat, maybe they’re not Finns. Could just be international visitors attending a meeting in Finland. 😉

  6. Texrat

    Louise, I work for a very large Finnish company (but I’m located in the US). I’ve been to many meetings in Helsinki. That just does not happen in any meeting rooms there, even if the visitors are international.

    Point is AT&T did not do their homework. If they had picked the US as the setting they would have been closer to reality.

  7. I don’t think AT&T is really going for reality or targeting an international audience, do you? 😉 I don’t imagine too many people in their target demographic really think that hard about whether the scenes are accurate portrayals.

  8. Texrat

    To an extent I agree Louise. But my perspective is perhaps unique here. AT&T partners with Nokia, Finland’s largest company. Regardless of what AT&T intends, or what the average consumer might think, this still makes AT&T look as if they don’t understand the culture of their partners. In the business world, that is a HUGE error.

    Bottom line, even in a farce such as these commercials, it behooves the company to get *certain* details correct. In this case, AT&T failed miserably. I am just surprised and amazed at that. It’s a detail that they should have gotten right… if they truly understood their own business!

  9. i’d really like the Neds Phone one up on youtube!!
    I’ve bene in love with Finland since i was little!!
    im moving there and going to school soooN!!!

  10. Just saw a new commercial in this series: Nancy’s phone about a kid’s party at which Freddie the Fun Time Dinosaur was due to appear, only to be replaced at the last minute by a T-Rex. No sign of it on Youtube as of yet. And still no sign of the “Ned’s phone” commercial there, either.

  11. Abby Troike

    I would love to see the new commercial with the dinosaur! My son is the birthday boy in that episode. Please someone post it online! Thanks!

  12. anthony

    has anyone seen the one where jeff was takin by the police that one i thought was funny and messed up at the same time

  13. Ooh, that’s a new one. And I see it’s on Youtube so I’ve added it to the post. Yeah, it is a little messed up. LOL Someone finally uploaded copies of Ned’s phone and Nancy’s phone commercials to Youtube so I’ve added them to the post as well.

  14. anthony

    i wanna know if anyone seen a at&t commercial with a guy in a office [not ned] the people in the backroud appeared to be fighting and i wanna know if its a real commercial or my imagination

  15. No, Anthony, I didn’t hear any on the radio. I didn’t know they aired them on the radio (some of them are quite visual). What one was it?

    I just saw glimpses of a new one on TV (didn’t catch the name associated with it) about thawing a frozen turkey before you deep fry it (or it explodes). Looked pretty funny.

    By the way, I’ve tried to put the videos above in rough order of when they were aired. Did you notice that the last three (Nancy/dinosaur one, Jeff/arrest one, and now this turkey one) have not mentioned a location? I wonder if that is just coincidence or if it is a result of backlash over the ones like Ned’s phone.

  16. anthony

    the turkey one, the guy is named howard and ted [one on radio] he was on his parents farm and gota call from his coach and got accepted for a high school football team to be the quarterback and didn’t get that call

  17. Hah! Finally found the exploding turkey commercial. Also found a new one, for Slate Sanchez’s phone (reporter at the wrong demolition site – “Hi, I’m Slate Sanchez and I’m about to be the news.”). Very funny. 😀 I’ve added them both above.

  18. Kim

    It’s a commercial people…it doesn’t have to be a real setting, these are actors, not necessarily citizens of the specified locations. The whole point is being completely missed, it’s about bars, service, and the war between cell phone carriers…get a grip. Sit back and enjoy the humor in it instead of disecting it looking for errors. Wow!

  19. Steve Rustad

    I believe that AT&T’s More Bars In More Places / Alter Ego TV campaign is currently the best TV campaign on the air. The roles are perfectly cast, the actors are uniformly excellent and the small details of location, props and costume are always right on. The emotions of panic, frustration or disappointment conveyed in these 30-second dramas ring true (no pun intended) and I’m always delighted to see (any) one of these spots – no matter how many times I’ve seen it before. I don’t know the effect of the “Alter Ego: campaign on AT&T’s fortunes, but the series demonstrates that well-produced, 30-second spots are still capable of being the best thing on TV. I’d like to know which Ad agency produces them.

  20. Pete

    Am I the only one who finds it slightly disturbing that the Slate Sanchez commercial implies someone got killed because their phone didn’t have “the coverage”?

  21. Charlie

    The person who portrays ‘Slate Sanchez’ looks very familiar…was he actually an on-air news or sports reporter for a local station in the Los Angeles area some time ago?

  22. Meg

    I don’t see how the Slate Sanchez is supposed to be humorous. So basically we’re watching this guy about to be blown up because he doesn’t have phone service. Probably not the best idea.

  23. You know, the first time I saw that one was on Youtube and I thought it was one of the many spoofs, which tend to be quite harsh and dark. I was a little surprised that it was a real commercial, but it’s blackly funny in the vein of some WKRP in Cincinnati episodes (remember the turkey drop episode? — horrifying on the one hand, funny on the other).

    When I really watch the commercial closely, though, I don’t think they are at ground zero — I think they’re just within the blast zone, which means they get shaken up a little but not killed.

  24. mk

    I’m from Seattle and I recognize “Slate Sanchez”, too. I think he was a real sports guy here at one time, but I don’t remember his name.

  25. There’s a new one, freshly uploaded to the ShareATT Youtube channel: Snowball, the snowman who, because he just doesn’t have AT&T (or a cell phone, but I digress) doesn’t know about the heat wave coming to winter cottage. It’s been added to the post above.

  26. Bernie

    I find the Slate Sanchez commercial to be in such poor taste as to be offensive. Although I have a dark sense of humor, this commercial makes me shudder every time I see it. It reminds me of the destruction of the World Trade Center for some reason. And I think about the poor people on the airplanes that day who were calling their families goodbye on their cell phones. That wouldn’t be a funny commercial, and I think that this commercial is equally unfunny.

  27. Scott

    I find the snowman one in poor taste. I mean snowmen have feelings too. It’s not funny to see one melt away because you know it must be an extremely painful way to die. Get a grip people..they’re only commercials!

    1. The question going through my head is “How exactly is Snowball going to come back to see the kids next year?” He’s melted, the dog has run off with one of his arms (and lord knows what else — I’m guessing the dog had long-since peed on the poor snowman)…there’s nothing left of what used to be Snowball to resurrect. Sure, they could make another snowman, but it won’t be Snowball. *sniff*


  28. Black Martini

    I’m kind of hoping that Bernie is joking.

    I love the Slate Sanchez spot. We don’t know if he’s killed in that spot, but he (and his crew) will certainly “be the news”. If a newscaster and his crew were caught in a blast, there is no doubt that would be the top story on that night’s newscast.

    But the bottom line is that someone is taking that commercial WAAAAAAAAY too seriously. Do you actually think that a newsman, a van and a full crew could get onto a demolition site without someone spotting them and telling them to get the hell out of there? In the real world, this couldn’t happen, so it makes as much sense to shed tears over Slate Sanchez as it does to cry every time Wile E. Coyote blows himself up.

  29. “Hi, Amoeba’s phone here. Amoeba was too cheap to buy AT&T so no bars here on this microscope slide, so we didn’t get the call that that giant paramecium is headed this way and…” *glup*!

    So the Snowball ad is only slightly less stupid than this – do *any* snowmen have cell phones, with AT&T or anybody else? And just what would Snowball have done if he *did* get the call (from whom?) – grow snow wings and fly north?

    I think the ads need to have the cell phones belong to a person that would reasonably have a cell phone, and would describe some situation where having the AT&T signal would have saved them some embarrassment or awkward situation (as opposed to their being killed in a horrific explosion). Other than that, the commercials are tasteless, moronic, or both.

  30. Pingback: AT&T Alter Ego Snowmen | The Inspiration Room™ | Daily

  31. Ron

    I find the “Slate Sanchez” spot violates the basic principle of the ads–that it’s the person’s phone, not the person, who is speaking to us. (It initially took me a couple of viewings of the first one I saw –“Greg’s phone”– to pick up on the premise since the “phone” is in the action, not in front of it as in most of the others.) Now with the “Slate Sanchez” spot, you have the “phone” saying “I’m Slate Sanchez” — it destroys the whole premise. (In addition, Slate says “git” instead of “get,” rhyming it with bit, lit, pit, and sit, instead of properly rhyming it with bet, let, pet, and set.)

  32. anthony

    does anyone know when theres going to be a new At&T commercail ive been waiting for the longest peroid of time and i havent seen any or have they like cancelled the series of that commercail

  33. Aunt B

    What is the name of the female vocal artist & song title that is played during the AT & T wireless commercial where the female actress walks towards the camera peeling layers of clothing off with the final garment being a long gown with a hood. Thanks !

  34. Unfortunately, a lot of the videos have been removed from YouTube. I’ve tried to find some replacements, but only found a couple. I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising after 10 years. I’ve updated the post to fix those ones at least.

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