This post has been updated below.
It could be the work of a rogue creative director or the desperate cry of an overworked animator. Or maybe the brand was trying to have some fun. Either way, there it is in the middle of a new Cricket Wireless commercial: a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to the jam band Phish.
Two references, in fact. The destination of an approaching train reads "Gamehenge," the fictional setting of the band’s semi-coherent and rarely played rock opera, "The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday." The number of the train is "555," a track from the band’s most recent album, "Fuego." Both go by at rapid speed and can only be seen once the frame is frozen. (Shout-out to Livemusic.com for spotting it first.)
Cricket’s creative agency is Argonaut Inc., a small San Francisco shop that doesn’t have a live person answering its phone. But here’s a picture of the entire crew if you care to make a guess at who did it.
Update: Thanks to a now-deleted Reddit thread, the prankster has been identified, more or less. An anonymous copywriter using the screen name Rifted09 posted the following to Phantasy Tour, a Web forum for jam band fans, on May 12.
"I'm an advertising copywriter. In short, I write TV commercials.
We're just wrapping up the biggest commercial I've ever done in my short career.
In one of the shots, there is an approaching train. For legal reasons, we need to change the destination on the train. So we need a fictional 'location'.
I am thinking gamehendge.
What else could we get in there?"
Congrats, Rifted09, for having fun with your job and--intentionally or not--helping Cricket's commercial go just a little bit viral.
Your move, AT&T.