Ad of the Day: TBS

Watch any device on Conan, or vice versa, with the network's TV Everywhere app

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Right down to its name, there's something a bit disconcerting about the whole "TV Everywhere" idea. Championed by most (though not all) cable and satellite companies, the plan is to let anyone with a cable subscription stream TV programming on their iPads, iPhones, and all other mobile devices. This may come in handy—and is the future, regardless of how you feel about it—but it comes off sounding almost like a threat. TV will be everywhere, and you won't be able to hide.

A new ad campaign for TBS's streaming app introduces the concept of TV Everywhere to the network's viewers, but nonetheless seems comically ambivalent about it—and humorously captures the absurdity of our culture's device proliferation. In the ad's meta fictional world, a fake director is filming a fake promo for the app—but the writers have gotten the concept turned around. Instead of "Watch Conan on any device," they've been working off the idea of "Watch any device on Conan." Thus, they've dressed O'Brien up, much to his confusion and chagrin, in a ridiculous robotic suit made from tablets and smartphones—so you're literally watching the devices on him. After some confrontational banter with the director, O'Brien asks Andy Richter if he thinks the concept is funny. Richter says it isn't—but barely looks up from his iPhone in the process.

Of course, it is funny—and just like something O'Brien would do on his show. But more to the point—it's not that different from what actual advertisers are doing in promoting their own apps. Just look at the Cosmo for Men spot with the girl who has iPads for a head. When it comes down to it, it's becoming difficult to distinguish the actual future of TV from what's just a preposterous visual gag.

The TBS promo was shot by Hungry Man director Bryan Buckley, who's worked with O'Brien before—on last year's American Express spot, in which the comedian visited India. That AmEx commercial has 2.6 million views on YouTube and was nominated for an Emmy. This new promo might not win any awards, but its view counts should be decent—after all, you can watch it anywhere.


Client: TBS

Spot: "Any Device on Conan"

Vice President of Production: Tonya O'Connell

Senior Vice President, Creative Director on Air: Ron Korb

Senior Vice President, Creative Director of Design: Neil Dufine

Vice President, Creative Director: Bret Havey

Agency: Grey, New York

Director: Bryan Buckley

Production Company: Hungry Man

Managing Partner, Executive Producer: Kevin Byrne, New York

Executive Producer: Cindy Becker, Los Angeles

Executive Producer, Line Producer: Mino Jarjoura

Director of Photography: Scott Henriksen

Editor: Chris Franklin @ Big Sky

Post EFX Supervisor: Ryan Sears @ Big Sky

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.