In the 21st Century, if theres one thing that’s joined the pantheon of annoying teen behavior–along with sex, drugs, rock n’ roll–it’s smartphone use. The texting, the sexting, the emoji-speak, the Snapchats. “Put your phone down” is the new “Get off my lawn.”
For a new holiday spot, AT&T is actually encouraging people to give the present of being present by putting down the phones. The new ad, by agency BBDO and directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine), follows one family’s Christmas adventures and the phone-obsessed teen among them. But in the end, the festive spirit wins out over checking that Instagram feed yet again.
“We constantly look for signals of human behavior in the marketplace–it drives insights on what might be next for our products and services,” says Valerie Vargas, vice president of advertising and communications for AT&T. “Recently, we noticed that consumers are seeking a digital detox, a break from all their connectivity. We took this opportunity to suggest that we all recharge with each other.”
It a similar sentiment to the one Apple served up in its Emmy-winning 2013 holiday spot “Misunderstood,” which also tapped the tech-obsessed teen trope for maximum Christmas feels.