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AT&T Urges Customers to Put Away Their Cellphones -- But Just for a Day

A Christmas ad campaign encourages people to put down their phones and spend some time with friends and family.


AT&T makes a big chunk of its money from all the data that customers gobble up by using their smartphones.

But for Christmas, AT&T ran TV commercials encouraging customers to shut off their devices and spend time with family.

The ad, directed by husband and wife duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (of “Little Miss Sunshine” fame), shows a teenage girl tapping away at the dinner table, in the cars and taking selfies with friends — all at her family’s expense. But, for Christmas, she hands over her phone.

“This season, give the present of being present,” says a voice-over announcer.

AT&T ran the ad on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but now plans to go back to its standard advertising.

This isn’t the first time AT&T has encouraged its customers to put away their devices. The company has run a big “It can wait” ad campaign to convince people not to text and drive. It also ran ads at the Tribeca Film Festival encouraging festival-goers to keep their phones put away out of courtesy to other movie-goers.

It’s kind of like the “drink responsibly” ads from companies that make money from people drinking lots and lots of beer and booze.

And, of course, now that Christmas is over, AT&T would be happy to see customers go back to using lots and lots of data.

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