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From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Even in the Madness of March

Finalist in Brand Awareness Campaign, Integration with Live Television

Entered in Technology


They don’t call it March Madness for nothing. It’s a month full of upsets, overtimes, buzzer beaters, and Cinderella stories. Adding to that madness are brands throwing elbows trying to capture audience attention.

AT&T needed to stand out in the crowd and make the most of their longstanding NCAA sponsorship by giving fans of the tournament the one thing they were missing—a sure thing.

After all, AT&T has the 5G network, security features, and very best trade-in deals to keep fans connected to the excitement.

Strategy and Execution

AT&T positioned themselves as a proudly predictable partner, Even in The Madness of March, by creating an integrated campaign that told two sides of the same story: Lily, AT&T’s beloved spokesperson, was headed to the tournament and needed some help running the store while away.  

Digital followed Lily to The Dance, where she would be her always helpful self while experiencing the excitement of the stands first-hand. Social and display units spoke to AT&T’s offerings through the lens of game-day necessities. Lily kept a fan safe from an embarrassing moment on the jumbotron as a way to tout AT&T’s security features. She found a workaround for her friend’s blocked view by streaming the game on AT&T 5G. Lily even reassured a fan who fumbled his phone that he could trade it in—any year or condition.

While Lily lived it up at the tournament, broadcast focused on filling in for her with a star-studded cast to take her place. Matt Stafford spoke about life-changing trades, Coach Mike Krzyzewski interviewed for a new position post-retirement, and LaMelo Ball chased a new title—employee of the month. And that was just for starters. Zooey Deschanel, Rosario Dawson and Kumail Nanjiani also got into the action, approaching the role of substitute spokes-GOAT with their own unique style.

But there’s more to the Madness than just the games. Working with CBS, AT&T took over the ever-so-popular March Madness bracket page. Dynamic digital units would tally up wins from a bracket to serve custom content in real time. If a bracket was doing well, Lily would cheer on the user. If the bracket was doing poorly, Lily would offer her condolences in her unique, charming way.



This campaign leveraged the power of integration to tell stories that were both compelling to AT&T’s audience and hardworking for their bottom line. Every deliverable contributed to a new chapter, and each execution built on the other. The results? AT&T won big.

The campaign earned over two billion impressions, 33% higher click-through rates than march Madness 2021, and 125% more online buzz than March Madness 2021. Consumers were 84% more likely to search for AT&T and 200% more likely to talk about AT&T. Even in the Madness of March was the highest performing campaign of the tournament. Swish.



Video for Even in the Madness of March

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Critical Mass & BBDO, AT&T


Entry Credits