ATLANTA, July 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Lights! Camera! Silence! As movie patrons settle in their seats this July, Wireless Courtesy Month, they may see the debut of a public service trailer directed by and starring Academy Award winning filmmaker Sydney Pollack in cooperation with Cingular Wireless. The trailer promotes of all things -- silence.
The scene opens with a man in the midst of conducting a personal phone call. Pollack then appears with script in hand, providing stage direction to the caller, who is clearly annoyed that the filmmaker has disturbed him.
"Oh, I'm sorry -- is my directing interfering with your phone call?" asks Pollack, with more than a hint of sarcasm. "How rude of me!"
The trailer concludes with the following message: We won't interrupt your phone calls. Please don't interrupt our movies. Silence your cell phones.
Pollack, director and producer of films including Tootsie and Out of Africa, said he agreed to participate in the project because cell phone use at the movies "is not only disrespectful to the film and filmmakers, but also to the audience that is there to concentrate on the film."
"Much to my humiliation, I've been an unthinking perpetuator of this distracting behavior myself," Pollack added. "Once I was onstage, participating in an interview in front of a live audience, when my cell phone rang." Embarrassed, Pollack took the call and tried to make a joke of it. "Now I remember to turn off my cell phone whenever I walk into a public forum."
Pollack is also responding to the sentiments of movie audiences. In a survey conducted last year by Braun Research for Cingular, 93 percent of movie-goers said there should be on-screen messages that ask people to turn off their wireless phones in the theater, and 97 percent said they would comply if they saw such a reminder. While 67 percent of movie-goers insisted that their cell phone has never gone off at the movies, nearly one-third admitted they were guilty of the gaffe.
"I was also intrigued that a company asked me to film a spot urging the public not to use its service," said Pollack.
The trailer, dubbed "Cliche," that was created by BBDO New York and BBDO Atlanta on behalf of Cingular, will air in Regal, United, Edwards, and AMC Loews theaters nationwide. It is the latest in Cingular's longstanding "Be Sensible" public education campaign, which encourages the safe and courteous use of wireless devices. Now in its fifth year, the courtesy component of the campaign includes public service announcements, auditorium signs, messages on popcorn bags, and other tools that encourage film-goers to silence their cell phones at the movies.
"We decided to focus our courtesy campaign on movie theaters because our research showed that, second only to houses of worship, the place that Americans least want to be disturbed by a ringing phone is at the movies," said Tim Klein, vice president of public relations for Cingular Wireless. "We've also found that the vast majority of film-goers take action to silence a cell phone after watching one of our public service trailers. Clearly, most people want to be courteous -- they just need a little reminder."
"Cingular continues to lead the wireless industry in promoting cell phone courtesy, and its efforts make a difference," added Cliff Marks, president of sales and marketing for National CineMedia, the media and marketing venture of AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark USA and Regal Entertainment Group theatres. "We're delighted with this humorous new announcement, which is sure to resonate with audiences. It underscores our exhibitors' own efforts to create a favorable theater environment so our customers can fully enjoy the films."
Source: Cingular Wireless