Deutsche Telekom’s sci-fi film paints an optimistic vision of Gen Z’s future

The campaign provides support and career resources to young people who are struggling amid the pandemic.

Deutsche Telekom’s sci fi-inspired campaign aims to inspire and support young people to pursue their passions in the wake of a global crisis.

Created by Saatchi & Saatchi London, “Project futureproof” launches with a short film that shares a message of “digital optimism” and envisions possible career opportunities that could emerge from Generation Z’s interests and passions. 

The two-and-a-half minute ad opens in 2021, as a TV presenter delivers the news that “today’s youth will suffer the most from recent world events” – alluding to the Covid-19 pandemic, economic recession and general uncertainty of the future. 

Then, mysterious sci-fi glitches disrupt the world and open up new opportunities for young people. A series of vignettes depicts utopian scenarios such as the Amazon Rainforest regrowing to 90% of its former size, a dodo bird becoming extant once more, AI-designed fashion and an entire city powered by photosynthesis. 

Singer-songwriter Billie Eilish, who starred in Deutsche Telekom’s 2020 campaign about the positive impact made by a “screen-obsessed” younger generation, also appears in this latest ad and a version of her song My Future provides the soundtrack. 

The work was created by Tobias Tercic, Hernan Garcia Dietrich and Nathan Crawford, and directed by Rollo Jackson through Somesuch. Mindshare and MediaCom Germany oversaw media. 

It will run across digital and social channels including Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Spotify.

Along with the film, the brand and Publicis Sapient developed a free-to-access digital tool that will help connect users to potential career “clusters”. Through a personalised and gamified experience, it will show how young people’s passions, skills and personalities are best suited to various careers and identify trends and changes in the world of work. An online hub features resources from experts to learn how to write a CV, prepare for job interviews and improve social-media profiles. 

Research from Deutsche Telekom shows that 61% of European Gen Zers are anxious about their future job and career prospects, while 54% are unsure what careers will exist in the future and 43% say they are unsure about whether they have the qualities they need to succeed.

“We started our journey last year to rejuvenate the brand in a way that says we are here for this generation [Gen Z] and what they do next. Now, with the pandemic, it’s a challenging time for young people, so we want to support and inspire them,” Ayten Pekerman, head of international market communication, told Campaign.

“Sometimes they may not see their value by themselves. This is about taking their passion seriously and building up opportunities for them.” 

Franki Goodwin, executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi London, said that in many ways, this Deutsche Telekom campaign is the opposite of a UK government ad that attracted attention last year, which depicted a ballerina called Fatima and suggested she retrain for a job in cyber. The ad received a backlash for showing a lack of support for the arts and creative industries, which suffered during the pandemic, and devaluing skills such as creativity. 

“We’re validating all passions, even if there’s not an obvious link to a career if you’re a gamer or a TikTok creator. Kids need inspiration and education around all these incredible opportunities – there are so many future-facing jobs you’ve never heard of,” Goodwin said. 

“When you see a future closing down in front of you, you can give up on the things you really love or are good at for the sake of something more secure. That’s a short termism that shouldn’t influence young people. Our message was that if you have a passion, you have a future. You are future proof. 

“Young people often don’t know how valuable they are at that point in their lives – there’s a disconnect between what they’re told is a valuable job and what companies need. We wanted to give them a view of the future that was a bit more long term.”


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