The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

How to Use a Pay Phone if You Were Born After 1997: An excruciatingly painful tutorial for Gen Z.

Audience Honor in Single Post or Activation

Entered in TikTok


As America’s most reliable network dating back to the days of the once-ubiquitous pay phone, we had a vested interest in teaching Gen Z how to use it before it was gone for good. We just had to find the right moment to do it.

Strategy and Execution

On August 13, aka Pay Phone Patent Day, we published a tongue-in-cheek “How To” for Gen Z on TikTok, filmed on the last pay phone in NYC. Because the TikTok generation most likely has never seen—much less used—a pay phone IRL, we gave them instructions that purported to be super easy but were actually a never-ending list of convoluted steps. It was an effective (and cringey) way to show Gen Z that Verizon’s always connected people, even when it was way more of a pain in the ass.


The response was immediate. Comments poured in. The TikTok algorithm featured the video on its ForYou page—the ultimate sign of success on the app. It captured the conversation of the moment and, compared to Verizon’s TikTok average, got +324% impressions, +9039% total interactions and +2039% total video views. 


It soon became Verizon’s best-performing organic social post ever.


Entrant Company / Organization Name


Entry Credits