AT&T’s #BeTheFan Leverages Ambassador & ESPN Reach

AT&T’s 2013/14 season ‘Be The Fan’ college football initiative is fronted by Modern Family actor Eric Stonestreet and aims to leverage his high social media profile into college ball fan engagement.


The campaign also links to AT&T’s association with broadcaster ESPN’s and leverages its ‘College GameDay’ TV show in order to further drive social media activity.


Stonestreet features as the ‘Fan Coach’ character in the activation’s central TV spots.


Each weekly episode sees the actor issue a GameDay challenges which fans are incentivised to respond to via Twitter, Vine and Instagram by sending in their photos and videos and including the hashtag #BeTheFan.


The best submissions win a trip to ‘College GameDay and match tickets to that show’s featured game.



The weekly challenges range from ‘season kick off celebrations’



to ‘touchdown dances’



and ‘match day superstitions’



Be The Fan end on 7 December as the college football season reaches its bowl crescendo and the grand prize contest winner receiving two tickets to the final BCS Championship game on Jan. 6.


By combining AT&T’s own platforms with broadcast partner ESPN’s own digital channels – including its website to social media – extended the campaigns launch power, ongoing awareness and engagement.


AT&T ensures its activation is the focus of a two-minute stretch during College GameDay shows – and its campaign content includes Stonestreet’s weekly minute-long video, plus an on-air billboard in which ESPN host Chris Fowler references the campaign and a weekly on screen appearance by contest winners holding the Twitter Sign of the Week.




Campaign results and stats certainly seem to suggest the partnership strategy has been successful.


Social media response to the campaign has been impressive with the brand itself claiming to have seen 80%+ higher engagement rates than AT&T has achieved with previous Twitter and social campaigns and a 400% increase in sweepstakes entries when compared to its activation last year.


It also claims that AT&T’s social buzz is up 271% over the previous period, while almost 200 million consumers have engage with AT&T’s social platforms during the activation.


Stonestreet’s own personal social media awareness and reach – he has more than 580,000 Twitter followers and over 95,000 Instagram followers – makes him a natural fit for the mechanics of the campaign.


‘We knew he had a huge social media following already, a huge Twitter following, a big presence on Vine and Instagram,’ says AT&T’s VP Advertising Vance Overbey.


According to the actor himself: ‘With commercial campaigns, companies and buyers want to know what your social media reach is. I recognized that early on with Twitter — this definitely can mean commerce for me at some point, and that’s definitely part of it when you sign these contracts. Social media, tweeting is part of it.’


But Stonestreet is also aware the risks of exploiting his TV character and social reach.


‘One thing I’ve learned in my recent years of being recognizable and on TV is how quickly fans and people will turn on you, and there are some people that are really put off by me advertising to them. What people at the end of the day expect from me is to be entertained, and I feel these commercials do that.’




AT&T Be The Fan Campaign Website



AT&T Global Website



Twitter Hashtag



ESPN Website



ESPN College Game Day YouTube



Eric Stonestreet Twitter



NCAA College Football Website




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