AT&T hit the nail pretty much on the head back in 1993.
One great thing about the Internet is the joy of coming across little nuggets of gold every so often. No other medium can match the short bursts of excitement one gets upon finding a video clip, a song or an article that makes your day, your month or sometimes your year. I’m not going to say this one made my year, but it definitely made me say “wow!”
Tom Selleck does the narrating in these 1993 ads, while Fight Club director David Fincher directs. If you look closely, you can even spot Jenna Elfman of “Dharma and Greg” fame in the clip with the video payphone. What is so interesting in these ads is how scarily accurate they were.
Let’s start from the beginning and do a little iMedia dissection of the four 30 second clips to see just how right they got it.
Roll the tape.
00:03 Have you ever borrowed a book from thouands of miles away?
00:09 Have you ever crossed the country without stopping for directions?
Check. (just did it this summer actually)
00:19 Sent someone a fax from the beach?
Close… how about an email or at text message. I’ll give that one to them… Check.
00:34 Have you ever paid a toll without slowing down?
Check. (and it was way less complicated than the ad made it out to be. That looked dangerous if you ask me… swiping a credit card while driving through a narrow toll booth. I bet this AT&T future has lots of accidents at toll plazas).
00:40 Bought concert tickets from a cash machine?
Check (well, it was for a movie but I’ll count it)
00:51 Tucked your baby in from a phone booth?
ehhh, I don’t think so. This one was pretty off, but 5 out of 6 so far aint bad. Do people still use phone booths, by the way? Are there even phone booths in terminals anymore? I’ll take my future phone booth-free, thank you very much.
01:05 Have you ever opened doors with the sound of your voice?
Negative. What, is this the Jetsons future? The only guy I know doing this is Tony Stark and he’s a fictional multi-billionaire who happens to be Iron Man. So I’m going to have to say no on this one.
01:13 Carried your medical history in your wallet?
I’m going to have to say no again. We’re heading there, but not quite yet.
01:21 Attended a meeting in your bare feet?
Check. As often as possible, actually (I hate shoes). Thanks Skype!
01:36 Have you ever watched the movie you wanted to, the mintute you wanted to?
Check! Tivo is quite possibly is the Best. Invention. Ever.
01:42 Learned special things from far away places?
01:54 Back to tucking your baby in, Jenna Elfman? Sheesh, enough already.
So there you have it. The future is now.
As we at Elon talk about predicting the future, ads like these really make me wonder how much of what we predict will come true sooner than we think. A lot of these 1993 ideas seemed like pipe dreams, but here we are only 16 years later and they are realities. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for what’s next.
The final tally, as predicted by AT&T: 8 out of 11 correct.
Not too bad. Nostradamus would have been proud. Now if they would stop hogging the rights to the iPhone so the rest of the non-AT&T world can get one I’d really appreciate it.