In 1979, AT&T's advertising agency, N.W. Ayer, created a the famous "Reach Out and Touch Someone" campaign. The campaign featured themes of community, family, and connection, and proved to be very popular. In 1984, the company—formerly known as “Ma Bell”—had a new competitive marketplace in which to make a stand. It was time for a new slogan. "The Right Choice," rolled out at the end of 1985, was designed to separate AT&T from competitors by highlighting the company’s experience and commitment to quality services.
This film, a rock-fueled corporate music video, serves as both a get-your-employees-fired-up motivational film AND promotion for the state of the company. AT&T kept its new slogan until 1993, when the "You Will" campaign was initiated. That same year, AT&T moved its long distance advertising from Ayer to a new agency. AT&T concluded its relationship with Ayer in 1996, when Ayer merged with DMBB.
N.W. Ayer had been the advertising agency for AT&T and the Bell System since 1908. Considered the oldest advertising agency in America (it was founded in 1869 — and had absorbed the actual oldest ad agency, Volney Palmer, in 1877), Ayer was a huge force in the ad marketplace. Ayer had, during the 20th century, not just kept a longstanding relationship with the phone company, but also economic powerhouses such as DeBeers, Camel cigarettes, United Airlines, Dole, Steinway, DuPont, more than 20 automobile companies, and the U.S. Army. The records and archives for N.W. Ayer, from the company's founding all the way to 1996 and including all of the work done for AT&T, now reside at the Smithsonian. The AT&T Archives also hold a great deal of this material.
The AT&T Tech Channel has produced several videos using the "You Will" theme.
Footage Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ