In a 1993-1994 campaign, AT&T hosted a series of ads that predicted the future of technology and how we interact with it. Back then, the commercials looked more like parody, but it’s a fair argument to say the depictions of today were astonishingly accurate.
The world we lived in 20 years ago was one big analog smorgasbord. Somehow, you got the feeling the earth was changing positions in its cosmic bed, and earthlings were along for a transitional ride, citing a Vox report.
AT&T’s ads didn’t come off as Orwellian in scope. Instead, the communications giant set itself aside as a trendsetter with a keen eye into the future and how technology would shape events, lifestyles, and social norms.
Gone were the days of leg-warmers, big hair, Michael Jackson leather jackets (and that darn glove), acid brights, Wham, Cindy Lauper, Ronald Reagan, and New Kids On The Block. In came grunge, Brit pop, baggy suits, stone-washed jeans, Bill Clinton (his ubiquitous saxophone in tow), and ‘N Sync.
Check out a Reddit thread from a few days ago that offered various takes on the AT&T campaign.
The narrator began each ad with a “Have you ever” question about keeping an eye on your place when you’re “not at home” (security apps), driving through a toll booth without paying — which would have resulted in a traffic citation or jail in 1994 — (EZ-Pass and others), crossed the country without stopping for directions (GPS), sent a fax from the beach (eFax, texts and tweets), or received a call on your watch (Samsung Gear 2 Smartwatch).
At the end, the male voice actor leaves you with somewhat of a mantra “You will.” Now, the question is simply this: How many times have you done today what the commercials from 20 years ago predicted?
AT&T’s tech prophecies were pretty impressive in the ads, almost Twilight Zone-ish in many ways. Consider this: Two decades ago, people used computers differently, based on the capabilities of the time. Back then, over 50 percent of PC’s use was for electronic mail; today, you can edit sheet music from Frederick Chopin’s Nocturne in E minor, Op. 72 No. 1 from your MacBook or track severe weather patterns from your Samsung Galaxy Tab.
For crying out loud, between 1993 and 1994, AT&T predicted there would be (wait for it)… touchscreens! Arguably, its vision of peripherals, implementation, hardware, software, and the like was spot-on. But the touchscreen is the cherry on the mascarpone cheesecake. Yum!
[Image via: Elite Daily]