"How can a generation that lives online know anything about the real world," Billie Eilish asks in Deutsche Telekom's latest spot, "#WhatWeDoNext".
The ad, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, is driven by a voiceover from Eilish. She pits clichés about Generation Z being screen-obsessed and disconnected against vignettes of real young people who are making a difference in the world.
They include fashion and climate change activists, white-hat hackers and a former United Nations youth ambassador, among others.
Franki Goodwin, creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, explained that Eilish was chosen because she is the "voice of her generation", with strong insights into how her fans use technology.
"Gen Z don't need us to kind of fix their problems. They need us to listen to them as they try and figure out how technology works for them in their world," Goodwin said.
Deutsche Telekom undertook research into "digital optimism" among Gen Z and how its members use digital tools and technologies to help them achieve their goals.
Ayten Pekerman, head of international market communications at Deutsche Telekom, said: "They have found ways to harness the power of technology to make the world a better place and this kind of digital optimism is something we share with the younger generation."
Pekerman echoed Goodwin's sentiments on choosing Eilish: "She is the ultimate voice for this generation. She is able to speak really on eye level with her generation. This is something different than [how] a brand would explain something."
The spot was directed by Vincent Haycock through Somesuch, and both Goodwin and Pekerman credited him for bringing the idea to life, playing with the colour palette, light and aspect ratio.
On the campaign being delayed becuase of the pandemic, Goodwin commented: "I feel for everybody that's sitting on an ad they're desperate to put out into the world, so it's really nice to have this out and being well-recieved."