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A brutal assault on texting at movies

At the beginning of every movie everywhere, there’s a reel telling people not to use their phones. If you can’t follow that rule by now, you’re hopeless. Recently a small chain of movie theaters had some fun mercilessly mocking someone who couldn’t stop using her phone during a movie. Watch this online video from The Alamo Drafthouse (profanity warning — headphones on!).

The YouTube caption for this video says:

“We do not tolerate people that talk or text in the theater. In fact, before every film, we have several warnings on screen to prevent such happenings. Occasionally, someone doesn’t follow the rules, and we do, in fact, kick their asses out of our theater. This video is an actual voicemail from a woman that was kicked out of one of our Austin theaters. Thanks, anonymous woman, for being awesome.”

Here’s a link to the spot on YouTube. There’s also a “censored” version with the cuss words bleeped out. The music used in the intro and outro is “Shut Up and Let Me Go” by the Ting Tings.

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I like this ad because it communicates a clear message without actually saying the words: The Alamo Drafthouse is a theater for serious cinephiles. The apparent realism of the voice mail, the flagrant profanity, and the on-screen text (complete with misspellings) all make it easy to pay attention and tell us we’re supposed to laugh at this.

The video is getting a good response. Thanks to a mention on Boing Boing and a few other blogs, this spot has nearly a million plays on YouTube. It’s introducing the 12-location, Austin-based movie chain to people like me, who have never heard of it.

If you work in advertising, you are probably skeptical that this is a real voice mail. I put the odds at 50%. The case that it’s fake: As a general rule, assume every “testimonial” in advertising is scripted. The case that it’s real: The Alamo has a history of authentic, amateurish, home-grown advertising, and my impression is that they’re sincere. Of course, that impression might be simply the result of good advertising.

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Who’s responsible for this ad?

Seems to be done in-house by Alamo Drafthouse, under creative director Henri Mazza and founder and CEO Tim League.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Advertising

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