AT&T, a brand that taught me many things about advertising and marketing, is rudderless from a branding standpoint. Yeah, they are making ads. Yeah, they have a branding idea “Rethink Possible.” And now they have a campaign idea “It’s what you do with what we do” intended to make the brand idea work harder. But frankly it’s a qualifying idea that waters down the already watered down. Ester Lee and David Lubars know better. This is a billion dollars of nothingness in one man’s opinion.
Back in the 90s both of these ideas would have been corporate advertising efforts for AT&T — a company that didn’t like to do corporate advertising. AT&T liked products and services. Bell Labs, now AT&T Labs, was a hotbed of innovation. It was innovation. I’m sure there are hundreds of engineers who will argue this from a patent point of view, but the labs have lost their way.
AT&T has become a mobile phone company with a bad rep for network, thanks to the iPhone’s history of dropped calls. For 20 somethings that has defined the company. So Rethink Possible is simply a tag-along mobile strategy drafting a category whose imagination is being captured by Apple. BBDO can do better. AT&T can do better. The labs can go better. Peace!