Martin Scorsese in AT&T’s public service ad

MUMBAI: Academy Award-winning film director, writer and producer Martin Scorsese is urging moviegoers, “please don’t interrupt our movies,” with ringing wireless phones in theaters.

For the first time, Scorsese has lent his considerable skills to create a public service announcement for AT&T’s Be Sensible wireless courtesy program. Now in its seventh year, the program asks moviegoers to silence their wireless devices during movies. Previous spots featured Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Sydney Pollack.

It is a humorous public service announcement that features a woman talking to her husband, who is on a business trip. She is on the phone in her young son’s bedroom, then hands the phone to her son to say goodnight to his dad. Suddenly, Scorsese enters the scene and interrupts the phone call and directs the astonished mother and son as if they are characters on one of his movie sets. The message: We won’t interrupt your phone calls. Please don’t interrupt our movies.

In a recent survey of moviegoers throughout the United States, an overwhelming 93 percent reported that they either silenced their wireless phone, put it on vibrate or turned it off as a result of AT&T’s Be Sensible public service announcements. The survey, conducted by The Nielsen Company, also revealed that more than 30 percent of all respondents indicated that they either would not have silenced their phone or didn’t know if they would have if they hadn’t seen the AT&T spot. What’s more, 72 percent of those surveyed said they appreciate efforts that preserve the movie-going experience by minimizing wireless phone interruptions.

“As the leader in wireless, we believe that it is our responsibility to promote mobile phone courtesy,” said AT&T’s wireless unit vice president of advertising Daryl Evans. “And research shows that, when you remind people, they will silence their phones. Our efforts — this campaign — are clearly making a difference. Our goal is to deliver this message in the most entertaining way possible, and we are very excited to team with Martin Scorsese in the creation of our latest Be Sensible movie courtesy trailer.”
“We are pleased to support AT&T and its efforts to remind American moviegoers of wireless phone courtesy,” said National CineMedia president of sales and chief marketing officer Cliff Marks. National CineMedia is the cinema advertising and marketing company that brings AT&T’s wireless courtesy program to theaters nationwide. “To have someone of Scorsese’s stature lend his talents to our program is a testament to the power of this program and to the medium of cinema.”

National CineMedia brings AT&T’s wireless courtesy campaign to more than 15,000 screens in more than 1,200 theaters in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

BBDO New York and Atlanta created the campaign.