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From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Bridging the Digital Divide

Entered in Technology


“Connectivity is at our core. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to deliver transformative change to millions of Americans by narrowing the digital divide and bringing broadband’s benefits to more and more people.  We have the necessary ingredients – the resources, employee expertise and will – to help our nation realize the Internet’s social and economic benefits.”  

- John Stankey, CEO, AT&T


It’s hard to believe that in 2022, issues with gaining access to the internet isn’t just a problem found in third world countries; millions of Americans in rural and underserved communities are living without access to the information they need to thrive in this modern world. In the same age where technology is more advanced than ever, there are still families living with little to no connection to the broader world. This is the Digital Divide.


Knowing this, AT&T decided that it was their responsibility to not only tell the stories of those impacted by the Digital Divide, but to make significant strides toward closing this gap. Beyond the company’s monetary investment in expanding access, affordability and adoption among these communities, the brand wanted to create a space for conversation among social users who likely did not know this problem even existed.

Strategy and Execution

In exploring ways to tell today’s social users about the Digital Divide, we wanted the creative to be educational, but stay approachable. We landed on a docu-style series that would feel part travel guide, part social responsibility. Unlike other creative campaigns that aim to spread awareness of a brand and its offerings, we documented our team listening, just as much as we were sharing.


Our host Kelsey (Forbes 30 under 30) led this tone, as the narrator of the series and someone whose life’s mission is built around connecting people to greater possibilities. A micro-influencer, we wanted to hand the mic to someone who could create a space for human-to-human conversations, placing people at the center of our story, rather than the brand.


But our crew wasn’t just bought in at the micro-influencer level: executive leadership - including John Stankey (CEO, AT&T Inc.) and Lori Lee (CEO, AT&T Latin America & Global Marketing Officer, AT&T Inc.) took an active participating role in the series, traveling with the crew and visiting our stops across the country. 


Each episode paired our host with a thought leader from AT&T or from the communities they serve, and another, more wide-reaching talent - media personalities, athletes and comedians - to give their unique perspective on how their lives and careers have intersected with the Digital Divide. 


While AT&T is doing the long-lead work of building out broadband and fiber networks across the country, the team on the ground was armed with devices to give away to those that need them the most. We connected with people impacted by the Digital Divide at AT&T’s Connected Learning Centers across the country and heard firsthand about the daily challenges and realities its members face. There is still more work to be done, but in the meantime, AT&T is committed to telling these stories and shining a light on those making a difference until, together, we can close the Digital Divide.


If you saw this campaign, you’re one of the connected - and the campaign reached connected users to the tune of 10.7M total views


Social posts from the series have an average engagement rate of 51.3% including views, and a net sentiment score of 92.29%.


But what about those who still aren’t connected? The team is preparing for season 2 of the Digital Divide discussion which will roll out throughout 2023 - as viewers and listeners continue to learn more about this issue, we are excited to uncover even more stories to tell.


Video for Bridging the Digital Divide

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Oust, AT&T


Entry Credits