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AT&T #ItCanWait: The Voice of Reason ft. Darren Criss & Katie Cassidy

Entered in Social Good Campaign


In 2010, AT&T launched a social good campaign designed to drive awareness to the dangers of texting and driving, aptly named It Can Wait. This initiative's early content aimed to shock and scare viewers, warning them of the consequences of distracted driving via graphic visuals and tragic personal stories. However, as the program expanded and matured, the creative strategy inevitably evolved; the program shifted to embrace action and advocacy with its 'take the pledge' call-to-action, addressing a number of other bad habits that lead drivers to taking their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel. By 2017, the brand was ready to welcome a new and engaging strategy for educating drivers, looking for a dynamic spin on a sobering issue. AT&T turned to Hearts & Science to help re-frame the It Can Wait message and re-energize the social movement. The primary KPIs for this campaign were brand awareness and social engagement, targeting all active drivers A18-49. It was crucial that the call-to-action message be positive: one that evoked hope and solidarity (we can do better) rather than angst and negativity (it's too late, we're all doomed). Our main creative challenge was making a memorable and relevant piece of content while striking the right balance between fun and educational.

Strategy and Execution

Creatively, we needed a concept that would be attention-grabbing and thumb-stopping – something that would immediately hook viewers scrolling through their social feeds. In collaboration with Hearts & Science, WHOSAY designed a hilarious content series featuring Talent coming face-to-face with mirror images of themselves (a twist on the traditional shoulder angel/devil plot device), with their "super-ego" version representing conscience and their "id" version representing temptation. As Talent wrestles with the reckless impulse to text and drive, viewers cannot help but side with the voice of reason – It Can Wait. Because the creative required legitimate acting chops and comedic timing, it was important that we cast highly-recognizable actors who could deliver engaging on-screen performances; both Darren Criss (from Fox's Glee) and Katie Cassidy (from The CW's Arrow) are primetime actors who have extremely active and responsive fanbases, making them ideal fits for the campaign.

In order to shift the public's perception of It Can Wait at scale, we needed to seed content in as many places as possible; therefore, we crafted our campaign to be platform agnostic with all content living across the big three social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) via organic and targeted paid media. WHOSAY packaged the creative into a suite of video, GIF, and photo content -- all driving towards our priority CTA and engaging audiences with #ItCanWait. Longer hero assets were posted natively by Talent, while shorter cut-down and captioned versions were dark posted across Talents' handles (served as ads) for sequential targeting. To further amplify, we cast ancillary social media influencers to natively post Darren and Katie's hero assets across their social handles, personalized with their own support of the It Can Wait message and additionally receiving targeted paid media. Not only did our campaign speak to viewers on a celebrity-to-fan level, but now also on a more peer-to-peer level.

With the ultimate goal of creating real change, we integrated AT&T's call-to-action via narrative, social copy, and click-through – all driving to There, our primed audience would discover an immersive experience where users could 1) make good on taking the pledge, promising to never drive distracted again, and 2) create UGC demonstrating solidarity for the social movement.


WHOSAY kicked-off the campaign launching Darren and Katie's hero videos, making a splash with over 2MM+ engagements and 2MM+ video views. Our ancillary influencer Talent amplified Darren and Katie's reach, generating another 2MM additional impressions. Using Talents' social handles as our own media channels via dark posting, we ran all versions of the content (video, photos, and GIFs, as well as optimization assets such as closed captioned versions) across all social platforms, with targeting broken out across each custom segment of our A18-49 target demographic. Once we identified which creative asset and CTA performed best against each segment of our broader audience, we heavy upp'ed media distribution towards best performing. Overall, with Talents' organic and WHOSAY's targeted paid media, the campaign garnered over 25.6MM impressions and 3.8MM engagements at a 14.78% engagement rate (WHOSAY Telecom Engagement Rate benchmark: 10.01%) and a 15.45% video view rate (WHOSAY Telecom Video View Rate benchmark: 8.55%).

The eye-catching creative combined with targeted media reinvigorated the It Can Wait campaign, boosting traffic to and moving the needle on AT&T's pledge count – exceeding 22MM drivers who enthusiastically answered the call-to-action.


Video for AT&T #ItCanWait: The Voice of Reason ft. Darren Criss & Katie Cassidy

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