Immediately after watching Rebecca Soni's gold medal win on NBC that set the new world record in women's 200M breaststroke at 2:19.56, I saw an AT&T advertisement. A girl with wet hair walks out of her bedroom watching the same gold medal win on her mobile phone. She hears the new world record, pauses for a moment, and then writes on a whiteboard near the front door, "GOAL: 2:19.56."
AT&T's advertising agency must have figured out how to put this ad together between the NBC taping in the afternoon and the final in the evening, but from the viewer's perspective it seemed instantaneous. The tagline, "rethink possible," was a double entendre, talking about rethinking the goal and about rethinking what's possible in instantaneous media.
The genius of the ad was the fact that I am talking about it at all. In fact, I told my wife, my son and several people at work about it. Can you say that about any other advertisement you saw during the Olympics?
The first rule of advertising is to make sure people remember you. Without recall, the ad was a waste of money. Thinking creatively about how to get attention in this media-saturated era will grow in importance over time. Today, at least, AT&T seems to have figured it out.