This French Telecom Ad Perfectly Captures the Feeling of Losing Your Phone

You might as well be on a deserted island

Headshot of T.L. Stanley

Nomophobia is real.

Sure, it’s technically a goofy portmanteau and not an officially recognized mental disorder—yet.

But just ask anyone who’s misplaced her smartphone.

First comes the rummaging and searching through pockets, cars, desks and backpacks. Blood pressure spikes, heart rate races. Next there’s panic, often accompanied by flop sweat, hysterical tears and rage spirals. Some people liken it to the five stages of grief.

A new ad from Publicis France for telecom giant Orange does nothing to calm our collective fears. In fact, it takes the no-mobile-phone phobia to a frightening and fantastical new place.

The sole character in the commercial, a guy on a train platform, comes down with a particularly nasty case of separation anxiety when he can’t find his phone. In short order, he’s transported to a deserted island where he is, quite literally, cut off from humanity.

“Alone in the world,” set to the B52s classic tune, “Rock Lobster,” shows this hapless (communication-less) dude facing all kinds of adversity as he tries to feed and protect himself, a la Naked and Afraid. He attempts to make fire, catch fish, harvest bananas and create shelter, with limited success. Amazon does not come to his rescue.

His crude distress signal, H-E-L-P written on the beach, washes away with the tide, and he falls into a pile of former castaways (or, rather, just their bones). The raft he built breaks apart and pitches him into the ocean, and even though he doesn’t drown, he’s later attacked by giant, hairy spiders.

But it was all a waking nightmare, as it turns out. He finds his phone and catapults his consciousness away from not-paradise and back to that train station. Heavy exhale!

The maddeningly true tagline? “It doesn’t take long to feel lost without your mobile.” And Orange’s solution: “24-hour service guarantee, mobile lending in case of loss, damage or theft.”


Advertising Agency: Publicis Conseil, France

Creative Director: Fabrice Delacourt

Copywriter: Vincent Cusenier

Art Director: Lucie Vallotton

Art Director Assistant: Alexandre Perdereau

Strategic Planner: Damien Sabatier

Account Management: Marie Wallet, Anne Dauvé, Emilie Jeanneau, Sherelle Ramire

TV Production: Pierre Marcus, Benjamin Auberdiac / Prodigious

Production Company: Henry

Post-Production: McMurphy, Baconx

Producer: Jean-Luc Bergeron

Producer Director: Yannick Dupas

Post-Production Director: Françoise Hernandez

Director: Martin Werner

DOP: Nicolaj Brüel

Editing: Adriana Legay

Color Grading: Hannibal Lang

VFX: Ludvig Hallenius, Robin Töndel

Sound Production: Joël Tessonneau / Prodigious

@TLStanleyLA T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.
Publish date: June 21, 2018 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT