Bell System "Reach out and touch someone" Commercial (April 2, 1979)




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Published on May 14, 2009

N.W. Ayer, one of America's oldest advertising agencies, needed a creative approach to help AT&T soften its image in the face of growing concerns about AT&T's potential monopoly. So Ken D'Ambrosio helped develop the concept for a print and TV campaign that incorporated the now famous "Reach Out and Touch Someone" tag line. We can credit Marshall McLuhan for creating the tagline "Reach out and touch someone" for Ma Bell. This campaign was designed to soften AT&T's image and position the company as an indispensable element of everyday American life.

Michael Arlen devoted a book to the making of a 30-second commercial for [the Bell System] with the slogan "Reach out and touch someone".

"In thirty seconds, everybody notices everything" (Arlen, 1980: p. 211) stated Jerry Pfiffner, who was an executive vice-president of N.W. Ayer and leader of a Creative Group. They had designed the famous "Reach Out and Touch Someone" commercial advertising for AT&T's advertising campaign in 1979. The intention was to get more people to make long distance calls. The first commercial debuted on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show.

David Lucas is the original composer of "Reach Out..." which is one of the rare jingles most people can actually sing. "Reach out. Call up and just say hi."

(Source: http://www.porticus.org/bell/bellsyst..., http://www.davidlucasmusic.com/)


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