AT&T reunites ‘The Office’ cast members for sleep-inducing business pitch

AT&T reunites ‘The Office’ cast members for sleep-inducing business pitch

Dive Brief:

  • AT&T has brought together several actors from “The Office” to promote a platform and network targeted at small businesses, according to a news release

  • New commercials show actor Rainn Wilson, who played Dwight Schrute on the sitcom, as he tries to get a far-fetched sleep aid product up and running. He’s joined in the chaotic Dream with Rainn venture by former castmates Jenna Fischer, Craig Robinson, Creed Bratton, Kate Flannery and Brian Baumgartner.  

  • Wilson teased the creative through posts on LinkedIn and Instagram, while a commercial formally unveiled the effort at the final round of the Masters Tournament last weekend. The full campaign rolled out Wednesday with a long-form video catering to die-hard fans of “The Office,” an enduringly popular series. 

Dive Insight:

AT&T Business wants to showcase how its services can help aspiring entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground, no matter how outlandish or mismanaged. To that end, the telecom has enlisted key cast members from the famously dysfunctional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company for a campaign that appeals to fans of “The Office” without explicitly name-dropping the program. An integrated Omnicom team of BBDO, Critical Mass, Hearts & Science and Ketchum developed the effort. 

While the U.S. version of “The Office” wrapped over a decade ago, it has remained a cultural fixture in the streaming era with a devoted following, and might appeal even to a more niche business-to-business (B2B) audience. “Sleep with Rainn” has the sitcom actors play versions of themselves that aren’t too far removed from their counterparts on the show. 

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Wilson, like Dwight, is domineering and fixated on bizarre ideas, in this case a business that “just might change the world” and bring about global peace. His pitch focuses on a pillow with integrated speakers that play his voice to help lull people to sleep, something he claims to always have been good at. Though the venture is haphazard, AT&T Business’ Next Level Network provides strong connectivity throughout. 

AT&T’s rollout relied on social media and digital channels to pique curiosity before a final reveal at the Masters golf tournament Sunday. The company leaned into LinkedIn, a leading B2B networking platform, with an account for Wilson promoting him as founder and CEO at Dream with Rainn. The full campaign features a 6-minute video that tries to capture the comedic style of “The Office.”

The strategy mirrors how other marketers are generating hype by having real celebrities adopt colorful public personas. In the weeks leading up to a Super Bowl spot, actor Michael Cera played up an association with the similar-sounding CeraVe brand, claiming himself as the mastermind behind the L'Oréal-owned cream.