Historical Analysis: AT&T TV Commercial – It’s Not Complicated “Werewolf”

This commercial is part of AT&T’s “It’s Not Complicated” campaign. The campaign features a series of advertisements in which kids, mostly under the age of 10, sit around a table with an actor named Beck Bennet who interviews them. Bennet’s questions are as simple as ‘what is better to have more or to have less?’ The premise of the campaign is that even children can comprehend why AT&T is better than the rest of its competitors; hence, “it’s not complicated.”

This ad along with the rest of the AT&T campaign is a great example of contemporary TV advertisement. Nowadays, we are being constantly bombarded with thousands and thousands of ads; thus, it has become increasingly challenging for advertisers to promote goods to savvy and often wary costumers who have learned to ignore classic sales tactics. As an alternative, advertisers have turned to other, less blatant, techniques for promoting their products, some of which are utilized in this AT&T commercial.  The most evident of the techniques being employed in this ad is the so-called soft sale. As the term implies, the advertiser utilizes a very subtle and friendly approach, in this case the product is not mentioned until the very end of the commercial. Another technique used in this commercial is wit and humor. When advertisers successfully entertain consumers through funny or witty commercials, such as this one, they transform the usually obnoxious and always unavoidable task of watching advertisements into an enjoyable activity. As a consequence of being entertained, consumers will most likely remember and perhaps even talk about the commercial later on. Lastly, the use of a catchphrase (It’s not complicated!) is very well utilized in this ad and the overall campaign. The phrase is short and catchy and is always uttered by the same spokesperson whose voice can easily resonate in the minds of consumers.

In regards to its informational function, I believe the ad does comply, but only to a certain extent. The ad does not offer much detail regarding the good being advertise, which, in this case is AT&T’s 4G LTE network for iPhone 5. When thinking about this campaign in general, I can easily remember it being AT&T’s; however, the fact that it is advertising the 4G LTE network is not quite as memorable. As for its transformative function, I actually do not believe this ad possesses one. I do not think consumer’s social values nor their attitudes are affected by this campaign.

While examining this commercial within a larger historical context it becomes very easy to situate it within a specific timeframe in history. This is obviously a recent ad, and the characteristics that make this commercial so obviously contemporary are very specific. Starting with the above-mentioned tactics (soft sale, the use of humor, etc.), the use of these techniques allows us to differentiate this commercial from a commercial, for instance, from the depression era, in which, the use of hard sale and sensationalism were the norm. Additionally, this commercial is promoting a technology that is very specific to our times, for it did not exist a decade ago and it will most likely not be the same within ten years. Thus, we can think of this advertisement as a soon-to-be historical artifact.


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