AT&T & US Olympic Committee

Presented by The Marketing Arm


AT&T is the official communications partner of the U.S. Olympic Committee, providing financial support, products and services to Team USA. Our challenge was to stand out and to introduce a new brand message.

In early summer 2012, “It’s What You Do With What We Do” became AT&T’s brand positioning. The London Olympic Games was the first major sponsorship platform for the brand to integrate the messaging into activation.

Sponsorship objectives

  • Our first objective was to create a program that leveraged AT&T’s relationship with Team USA and multiple athletes during the Olympic Games in a relevant and meaningful way
  • Secondly, we wanted to drive over 500,000 video views of AT&T Team USA content during the two-week Games promotional period and positive social media sentiment about the activation program
  • Finally, we wanted to increase AT&T’s positive brand perception and participants’ willingness to recommend the brand by 10% each.

Why that sponsorship?

The Olympics are about the athletes. And fans love the stories of these elite athletes who emerge out of relative obscurity to join Team USA and take the world’s biggest stage every four years.

We wondered what goes through the athlete’s mind right before they compete on this massive stage. We also wondered about what they do in the four years they’re not in the world’s spotlight.

What we discovered is they’re doing some ordinary things, along with some that are extraordinary. In either case, Team USA athletes use our technology. A lot.

Like our audience, they have their smartphone with them constantly. In fact, about the only time they don’t is when they’re competing. And because the phone is such a personal device, it offers a fresh and authentic glimpse into their lives. This tied nicely into the new brand positioning.

How the sponsorship played out

The big idea behind our campaign was to let the athletes tell the story of their four-year journey to London in a fresh way that illustrates how AT&T was with them along the way – and to let fans bring the athlete’s experiences into their own lives.

In order to activate this campaign, we asked our seven Team USA athletes to tell the story of their four-year journey to the London Olympic Games. These stories lived online and were the center-piece of the campaign.

The films depicted each athlete’s journey as they might reflect on them in the moments before they compete. And we showed part of that journey through the lens of their smartphone – the apps and tools they used along the way. This gave us a unique opportunity to bring fans even closer to each athlete by offering free downloads of the apps and music our athletes enjoy.

Primetime In-Broadcast Feature
The My Journey program was highlighted each night during the NBC Olympics primetime broadcast. Each piece showcased an Olympian's journey to London, culminating with a look ahead at their opportunity to "Rethink Possible" the following night in primetime. At the end of each we invited viewers to learn more about these Team USA athletes via the My Journey digital platform.

Viewers could also access these stories with their mobile device using the Shazam soundprint technology during the NBC telecast.

Cross-Platform Integration
To ensure this content lived where people were already consuming video content, the videos and the promotional extensions all lived on the AT&T brand site, YouTube, Facebook and via mobile site.

Athletes also shared their videos across all social channels. Their tweets and retweets provided additional exposure and authenticity. In fact, My Journey drove the majority of the positive social chatter (17%) around AT&T during the Games (Source: Nielsen Buzz Tracker).

The Story Continues
To bring fans even closer to Team USA, we invited them to download the songs and apps each athlete used in the videos. Fans also had the chance to win the athletes’ favourite items – like Allyson Felix’s beach cruiser or Ryan Lochte’s skateboard. And a few winners got to share a priceless experience with the athletes, like a game of beach volleyball with Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh.

Multicultural Extension
This program was also integrated into Telemundo’s Olympic broadcast features. In our digital elements, the Steven Lopez My Journey film was done in both English and Spanish to integrate with other AT&T/Multicultural-owned channels.

National Consumer
Appropriately, this campaign lived on a national stage. Both in its media weight – our partnership with NBC reached a television audience across the country every night during the Games – and in its concept, as we told the stories of our country’s finest athletes.

Multiple Partner
AT&T “My Journey” included collaboration with partners such as the U.S. Olympic Committee, NBC and various Team USA athletes. In addition, the social/digital nature of this program included partnerships with Facebook, YouTube and the various app and technology brands featured in the athletes’ stories.

Digital Devices
AT&T “My Journey” told the story of how our Team USA athletes prepared for the London Olympic Games. They each had one thing in common: Their digital device was a constant companion. Each athlete’s story was from the perspective of his/her smartphone, highlighting their favourite digital tools and apps. In addition, consumers were interacting with the promotion via their digital devices throughout the entire program (mobile site, Facebook, YouTube).

Social Media
Throughout the promotion, Team USA athletes and other partners shared the athletes’ stories across their social media channels, leading to additional exposure and enhanced authenticity for the content. The “My Journey” program had a consistent experience across all social media platforms – including Facebook and YouTube – along with social TV integration via Shazam during the NBC broadcast.

Results of the sponsorship

After the Olympics, Allyson Felix – one of our seven athletes – told Sports Illustrated she prepared for her race by calling on memories. “I thought about the journey, about being in Beijing, and seeing my family. I thought about the last four years.” Creatively, Allyson’s reply was validating. We’d hit upon a truth in our storytelling. How athletes reflect on their very personal journey in the moments before competition.

Equally as validating was the overall success of this program. Each of the three overall program goals we set were not only met, but exceeded:

Objective #1: Create a program that leveraged AT&T’s relationship with Team USA and multiple athletes during the Olympic Games in a relevant and meaningful way.

Results: A vast majority of respondents (80%) found the overall My Journey experience to be “Above average/Excellent” (Source: in-house agency research).

Objective #2: Drive over 500,000 video views of AT&T Team USA content during the two-week Games promotional period and positive social media sentiment about the activation program.

Results: The program received almost 675,000 video views – 35% over original goal – and almost 50,000 free songs were downloaded via consumers (Source: post-program stats). The My Journey program garnered over 145million social media impressions during the promotional period.

Objective #3: Increase AT&T’s positive brand perception and participants’ willingness to recommend the brand by 10% each.

Results: Participation in the My Journey experience had, on average, a 23% higher influence on total respondents’ willingness to recommend AT&T than just awareness of AT&T’s sponsorship of the Olympics overall. For nearly half of Participants, their experience had a “Somewhat Positive” or a “Strong” impact on their willingness to recommend AT&T (Source: in-house agency research).

By telling these personal stories, tapping into human truths, and showing what our athletes do with what we do, we humanized our technology brand. And we moved the needle on turning our customers into ambassadors for the brand.


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