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Most people think of creative as, well, creating — commercials, catchy slogans, logos, print ads, etc. But sometimes creative is about recognizing an opportunity. Take for example the following spot for Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Alamo Drafthouse is a small chain of movie theaters in Texas, with one lone theater in Virginia. They have a strict no tolerance rule when it comes to cellphones. Talk or text in a theater, and they kick you out.

When one patron didn’t follow the rules, she was indeed kicked out of the theater. She then proceeded to call and leave an angry voicemail. Alamo Drafthouse turned the voicemail into a viral ad for the theater.

The production of the ad was cheap as chips — super simple text over the voicemail recording. As for the voicemail, you couldn’t write a more dead on strategic ad for Alamo Drafthouse. Take this line, for example —

“I’ve texted in all the other theaters in Austin, and no one ever gave a f— about what me — I was doin’ on my f—— phone.”

What does this line communicate to the listener? One, you don’t want to be in a theater with this person. Two, every other theater in Austin let her get away with it except Alamo Drafthouse. BAM! An angry voicemail just set Alamo Drafthouse apart from every other theater out there.

So, before you start cooking up creative from scratch, do your research. Even if the ad doesn’t write itself, more knowledge makes for better ads.

And should I find myself in the land of the burnt orange, I’m going to make sure I catch a film at Alamo Drafthouse. Let’s just hope the theater doesn’t have a no tolerance policy when it comes to crimson Sooner shirts. BOOMER!

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3 thoughts on “Sometimes the ad just writes itself

  1. SOONER!

    I love that ad. A friend of mine from Austin turned me on to it some months ago. I wondered what the legal ramifications were for this ad. Perhaps if you’re leaving a voicemail, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy?

    I’ve often thought ordering one of those short range cell phone jamming devices for just such occasions.

    • No idea on the legalities of the ad, but apparently cellphone jamming is illegal in the US under the Communications Act of 1934. France legalized cellphone jamming in theaters and concert halls in 2004. I guess if you can’t make it to Alamo Drafthouse, try Paris.

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