You Will...Send a Fax from the Beach

YouTube / AT&T
YouTube / AT&T / YouTube / AT&T

In 1993, AT&T launched a bold new advertising campaign with the theme "You Will." The ads were directed by David Fincher, who was then best known for directing Paula Abdul, Aerosmith, and Madonna music videos, plus the third Alien movie in 1992.

The AT&T spots provided visions of the future in which technology helped with everyday problems. In one spot, a father reads a bedtime story to his kid via a videoconference. In another, a businessman sends a fax from the beach using a tablet device. The voiceover says: "[Have you ever] sent someone a fax...from the beach? You will. And the company that'll bring it to you: AT&T."

On behalf of all beach-faxing business dudes, I encourage you to witness the future, as we saw it twenty years ago. Actually very close to reality, just not so much with the faxing:

And here's one predicting, among other things, video phone booths and a no-stopping toll road payment system (the latter exist all over the place). As for the video phone booth, they're right on with the phone part, minus the booth bit.

And here's a compilation of all the "You Will" spots (including the two above). It's only three and a half minutes long. Note at 1:30, the concept of video-on-demand, which then seemed futuristic but now seems absolutely normal...and indeed is the whole basis of this post. Enjoy!

In 2011, AT&T rebooted the spots with a vision of the future as it might be in 2020. Behold, holographic George Washington teaching kids history: