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The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here – Verizon & NFL

In January and February 2019, Verizon leveraged its rights around the NFL Playoffs, Championship Games and Super Bowl via a multi-phase, multi-platform activation that honoured America’s first responders.

Verizon has been the NFL’s official telecoms partner since 2010 and extended its partnership in 2017.

Territory: USA

Agency: McCann New York & R/GA

Objective

The brand’s 2019 late-season activation was based around demonstrating its ‘unfaltering reliability’.

Activation

The campaign, which was developed in harness with several agencies led by McCann New York, was based on research showing that each year 40,000 Americans owe their lives to first responders.

It was built around telling the stories of a group who had been saved – 11 NFL players and a head coach – through a 12-part film series, a 30-minute CBS documentary, an official NFL jersey and a Super Bowl commercial

A charitable strand to the campaign saw Verizon partner with First Responders Outreach, an organisation providing grants for emergency relief, training, and essential equipment. Verizon donated $1 for every social share including the #AllOurThanks hashtag through February 3, up to $1.5m. A dedicated microsite, AllOurThanks.com, featured campaign content and information on team members and on how fans could donate.

The campaign was launched through a trailer that debuted at the end of the Playoffs and ahead of the AFC and NFC Championship Games and was supported socially during the games with a focus on starting a conversation on Twitter.

This was followed by the 12-part film series, running on television and online and described by the agency as the ‘emotional heart of the activation’. Each told the story of a player/coach (from tornados to car accidents) and the first responders who saved them.

Working with the NFL and jersey partner Nike, the campaign designed a kit inspired by the uniforms of first responders. A batch of these jerseys were auctioned for charity and sent to influencers who had also been saved by first responders.

The campaign culminated in a 90-second Big Game spot focused on the story of Anthony Lynn, head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers and The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here.

The night after the Super Bowl, a 30-minute documentary created from the 12 combined stories was aired on CBS in primetime.

Outcome

The award-winning campaign saw more than 2.2 million hours of content streamed and inspired more than 400,000 people to share their own survival stories.

The Verizon spot became the most talked about 2019 Super Bowl commercial online. It was the day’s number one searched for top and generated a 65 per cent increase in brand trust and 20-point lift in ‘likelihood to switch to Verizon’.

Marketing media ranked it:

  • #1 most talked about (Twitter Brand Bowl)
  • #1 searched and viewed (AdWeek)
  • #1 watched Super Bowl spot (YouTube)
  • #1 overall digital share of voice (AdAge/iSpot)
  • #5 Super Bowl commercial (USA Today Ad Meter)

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