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AT&T Olympics ads
August 2, 2012 9:50 PM   Subscribe

How AT&T integrated Olympic results into its ads so darn fast. Did you catch a clip of Ryan Lochte’s gold-winning swim in an AT&T ad this weekend? You weren’t seeing things. The brand’s new campaign places winning Team USA results into its advertising in near real-time.
posted by schoolgirl report (30 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm very pleased that my rates are being applied to this innovative ad campaign instead of improving infrastructure.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:59 PM on August 2, 2012 [16 favorites]


Given that the entire campaign is hinged on this notion of athletic success, right down to the hundredth of a second, it’s an essentially risky idea. No matter how unlikely, if Team USA completely underperformed the idea would be in peril.

Yeah, because Americans simply can't get inspired by non-American gold medalists.
posted by vidur at 10:04 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not exactly real time, especially as you move towards the western US time zones. The London games are over 5 hours ahead for most of the United States. Plenty of time to edit some video into predefined patch (green screen equivalent) within a pre-recorded commercial. Send the digital video over to NBC and you're set.

I was pretty impressed until I remembered the big time difference. Still neat, but not magic.
posted by pkingdesign at 10:12 PM on August 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Huh, I saw the one tonight when Rebecca Soni set a new WR in the 200m breaststroke. The AT&T ad that integrated her time came up just a few seconds later in the next commercial break. I know, there were a few hours between the actual race and the NBC coverage, but we all still did a double-take. Pretty cool... thanks for the link, schoolgirl report.
posted by torticat at 10:13 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh great, they've found a new trick to get our attention so that we buy their shit that we basically have no choice about anyway because everybody needs internet and a phone and all the providers either suck equal amounts of balls or have contractual local monopolies or both.

Whoopee.
posted by Scientist at 10:25 PM on August 2, 2012 [13 favorites]


The fact that this is somehow innovative or a big accomplishment just shows how completely screwed up the entire industry is. I mean it's a big deal that they managed to insert some footage into a commercial within 24 hours after it happened? And they actually made the actors write out the possible times in advance? 12-year-olds are making more complicated videos, posting them to YouTube, and getting 3 million hits in 24 hours. We could watch the moon landing live, but a 24-hour turnaround time is something that only one of the biggest buyers spending premium bucks just managed to achieve?

Wake me up when they can do the commercial live immediately after the event. That would actually be pretty good: have the first commercial after the race be a real aspiring swimmer watching the event that just aired moments ago and reacting to the win/loss in real-time, all thanks to AT&T's network. Of course, between NBC's time delay, the archaic rules of broadcast television, and AT&T's craptastic infrastructure, bandwidth caps, throttling, and other moronic behavior, there's no way to do anything remotely interesting like that. AT&T's Olympic marketing efforts are much more on this level.
posted by zachlipton at 10:37 PM on August 2, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh great, they've found a new trick to get our attention so that we buy their shit that we basically have no choice about anyway because everybody needs internet and a phone and all the providers either suck equal amounts of balls or have contractual local monopolies or both.

Lots of the ads for big-major-everybody-watches events like the olympics and the superbowl are less about getting us to buy specific crap and more to get us to trust their brand and their company, and to associate heartwarming moments of national pride and accomplishment and aspiring-ness with their brands. If this sounds creepy, it's because it's creepy.
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:38 PM on August 2, 2012 [4 favorites]




Oh great, they've found a new trick to get our attention so that we buy their shit that we basically have no choice about anyway because everybody needs internet and a phone and all the providers either suck equal amounts of balls or have contractual local monopolies or both.

Whoopee.


Way to shit all over something that most of us thought was pretty cool, at least in terms of "how did they do that" and technical execution. But I guess we should WAKE UP SHEEPLE, etc.
posted by disillusioned at 11:06 PM on August 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


I was pretty impressed until I remembered the big time difference.

"You sound so close! It's hard to believe you're really that far away in space!"
"It's hard for me to believe it, too...."
posted by dhartung at 11:13 PM on August 2, 2012


Oh, so that's what AT&T is good at.
posted by schmod at 11:41 PM on August 2, 2012


I haven't seen any of the AT&T ads being referenced here, but I did think it was neat how quickly Visa got Morgan Freeman to record updated ads to reflect the 20 medals.

Also, I guess maybe he's used to it, but it's gotta be fucking weird to see an ad about yourself, voiced by Morgan Freeman, talking about your Olympic achievements and actually thanking you. I mean yeah, it's cool to get a tweet from Obama and Bieber, but seriously, Morgan Freeman.
posted by Bonky Moon at 11:53 PM on August 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Scientist: "Oh great, they've found a new trick to get our attention so that we buy their shit that we basically have no choice about anyway because everybody needs internet and a phone and all the providers either suck equal amounts of balls or have contractual local monopolies or both.

Whoopee.
"

It's not like you don't have any choices that aren't AT&T Wireless. Is it not possible to simply enjoy a technological feat?
posted by fireoyster at 12:50 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the UK in the past season, Bet 365 have been running 'live' ads in the middle of Premier League games with updated odds for the second half.
posted by biffa at 1:23 AM on August 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Love how the only person who is part of this story who did anything worthwhile (Lochte) is not only not getting paid for the ad... he's not getting paid for being in an AT&T ad.
posted by Dr. Peter Venkman at 1:56 AM on August 3, 2012


I saw the Soni one and thought it was pretty cool but didn't actually notice what company it was for, oops. And apparently commercials are being called "sponsored messages" now?
posted by ghharr at 5:06 AM on August 3, 2012


I haven't seen any of the AT&T ads being referenced here, but I did think it was neat how quickly Visa got Morgan Freeman to record updated ads to reflect the 20 medals.

In the case of those I assumed rather than technical wizardry they just did a different take for each possibility and fed the version of the ad to the network for however many dozen medals Phelps had won at that particular ad run time.
posted by aught at 5:33 AM on August 3, 2012


"I'm going to Disney World!"

Heh. When the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup way back in '93, I watched the live event (on TV). I remember seeing Patrick Roy parading around with the cup on the ice, like all players do. Amidst all the whoo-hooing and screaming, I saw him stare into the crowd and mouth "I'm going to Disney World!" to no one in particular.

It might have been a few minutes later (or maybe a few hours), but I soon saw the Disney World commercial featuring none other than Patrick Roy who "just won the Stanley Cup".

It's funny how despite all the emotions and partying that was surely on his mind, he had this contractual obligation to fill in the middle of it all.
posted by bitteroldman at 5:48 AM on August 3, 2012


Jeez, I saw the one after Soni's win last night and tried to figure out how they'd inserted the correct time via some kind of CGI magic. It never occurred to me they'd just filmed that girl writing down more than one time when they shot the commercial. Duh.
posted by something something at 5:56 AM on August 3, 2012


I've seen a couple of these, and I never noticed that the video/time in the ad were related to the race I had just seen. Short term memory is what again?

On the plus side, it means I am pretty unspoilerable for the Olympics -- "Oh yeah, I heard who won this event... but I forgot."
posted by Rock Steady at 7:04 AM on August 3, 2012



The fact that this is somehow innovative or a big accomplishment just shows how completely screwed up the entire industry is. I mean it's a big deal that they managed to insert some footage into a commercial within 24 hours after it happened?


They've been running betting ads with live odds here for a while, and there were some Prometheus trailers that used viewer reactions from Twitter from an earlier ad.
posted by mippy at 7:17 AM on August 3, 2012


Sorry, Biffa mentioned it already! It's not just Bet365, though, William Hill does it as well and possibly Paddy Power.
posted by mippy at 7:17 AM on August 3, 2012


If you like this post, please to be enjoying these other wonderful links! Pay no attenton to that Narus box in the corner.

The History of AT&T
A Brief History
Milestones in AT&T History
Inventing the Telephone
History of the AT&T Network
History of AT&T and Television
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 7:18 AM on August 3, 2012


Way to shit all over something that most of us thought was pretty cool, at least in terms of "how did they do that" and technical execution. But I guess we should WAKE UP SHEEPLE, etc.

"Most of us"? It's a very rare occasion when "most of us" on mefi agree that anything is pretty cool, let alone an AT&T ad campaign.
posted by blucevalo at 11:54 AM on August 3, 2012


Way to shit all over something that most of us thought was pretty cool, at least in terms of "how did they do that" and technical execution. But I guess we should WAKE UP SHEEPLE, etc.

Shitting all over whatever the thread is about is 2012 Metafilter's own Olympic event. The judges reward the most elegant shitters with favorites. I don't like it any more than you do, but your best bet is just to read the links in the post rather than engage.
posted by Kwine at 12:30 PM on August 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you like this post, please to be enjoying these other wonderful links!

AT&T Archives - The Viewtron System and Sceptre Videotex Terminal (1983)
posted by homunculus at 1:51 PM on August 3, 2012


Pay no attenton to that Narus box in the corner.

Speaking of AT&T's wiretapping shenanigans: Whistleblower, Suspected of Leaking Warrantless Spying Program, Sues NSA
posted by homunculus at 1:54 PM on August 3, 2012


I've seen a couple of these, and I never noticed that the video/time in the ad were related to the race I had just seen. Short term memory is what again?

I thought they got lucky with the Soni race, because she had just been talking about how she'd wanted to break 2:20, so her time of 2:19.59 would have stuck in viewers' heads a bit longer than other results might have. It's interesting, she'd set the 2:20.00 WR herself the night before in the qualifying heat, so they probably had a version with that time too... would have been funny if they could have got ads in with both, but I guess they were saving their magic for the medal races.
posted by torticat at 2:10 PM on August 3, 2012


Yeah, the five-hour time difference makes it a lot easier.


Me, I refuse to be impressed with these commercials until they start showing the new winning time before the event takes place.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:21 PM on August 3, 2012


Aren't the ads with Morgan Freeman like the Simpson's Superbowl episode?

from snpp
Moe: Oh, absolutely! My favorite team's in it! The ... [he
brings a beer mug up to his mouth, obscuring the exact
motion of his lips] Atlanta Falcons. Yeah, ever since I
was a boy, I've always loved the ... [again, with the mug]
Atlanta Falcons.

Homer: Yeah, they're good, but I wouldn't count out the ...
[gestures for the mug, and also does the mug bit] Denver
Broncos.

Wally: Yeah, I hear that President ... [mug] Clinton is gonna to
be watching with his wife [mug] Hillary.
Just record the possible outcomes ahead of time and play the appropriate one.
posted by hambone at 7:49 PM on August 3, 2012


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