AT&T’s #ItsOurTime Supports Both Team USA & LGBT Rights

As the Winter Olympics began, Team USA sponsor AT&T became one of the first brands with a form of official Games-related partnership to publicly and expressly condemn host nation Russia’s anti-gay legislation.


In a high profile post on its consumer blog, titled ‘A Time For Pride & Equality’, the American telecoms giant wrote:


‘We support LGBT equality globally and we condemn violence, discrimination and harassment targeted against LGBT individuals everywhere. Russia’s law is harmful to LGBT individuals and families, and it’s harmful to a diverse society.’


The post signed off with the company’s current Team USA Winter Olympic marketing campaign tagline ‘Go Team USA #ItsOurTime’.


The brand, while not a worldwide IOC TOP partner like other giant US brands Coca-Cola, GE, Dow Chemical, P&G, Visa and McDonald’s, has nevertheless been a corporate backer of Team USA for 30 years.


Its current Winter Olympics campaign is fronted by a set of less heralded Team USA Olympians in creative featuring AT&T-enabled communication playing support roles.


Unlike most other official Games and Team partners, AT&T’s ‘It’s Our Time’ campaign (created with agency BBDO NY) eschews the famous star sporting names (who might have most easily attracted the most eyeballs and attention) and instead focuses on lesser known athletes trying to make their Olympic mark while also living everyday lives.


The brand’s objective behind the approach is to connect with what is describes as a ‘very real American experience’.


For example, AT&T’s Winter Games campaign launch TV spot features skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace balancing family life with training: she lifts weights in her own basement, feeds her family and watches her kids play football before going for her own late night training run.


The voiceover says: ‘There simply aren’t enough hours in the day, yet somehow they find time to train. Now it’s our time to show our support.’



The other athletes featuring in the brand’s three further team USA commercials are alpine snowboarder Justin Reiter



short-track speed skater Alyson Dudek



and Paralympic alpine skier Heath Calhoun.



‘These aren’t made-up stories, these are real stories about sacrifice and determination and how they made it,’ said AT&T VP of brand management and advertising Rudy Wilson. ‘We’re showing them in a way not to make people cry, but to inspire people.’


Continuing its ‘support’ theme, the campaign also sees AT&T ask Americans to show their support for the Winter Olympic athletes by recording ‘U.S.A.’ chants by downloading the #ItsOurTime app.


The app enables users to create their own unique ‘U-S-A Chant Video’ via Facebook, Twitter or email anbd then share it with their friends and upload it to AT&T’s campaign website www.ItsOurTime.com


An experiential strand of the initiative sees the brand run an event in Times Square on the first day of the Games featuring these customized chants on a giant ‘Wall of Support’.




AT&T’s #ItsOurTime Twitter feed suggests it is reaping rewards for its stance with an avalanche of positive reaction and brand support from customers and non customers alike.


The North American based Human Rights Campaign (HRC), one of several groups pressurising the country’s official IOC sponsors to speak out against Russian laws targeting the LGBT community, lauded AT&T for its stance.


‘Today, AT&T courageously recommitted itself to fairness, equality and basic human rights. AT&T should be recognized for showing true leadership in opposing this hateful Russian law, and other sponsors that have failed to lead should take corrective action immediately. A company that claims to support LGBT equality should do so wherever it operates, not just in the United States, and we call on all Olympic Sponsors to follow AT&T’s lead and publicly denounce Russia’s anti-LGBT law.’


Furthermore, Ken McNeely, president of AT&T in California, also posted a statement today backing the HRC’s efforts and reiterating that the company stands by its core values of ‘diversity and equality’.


‘As a Proud Partner of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team for the past 30 years, we’ve showcased American athletes and celebrated their diversity all around the world,’ McNeely posted.


‘Now, with Russia’s anti-LGBT law and worldwide protests against it, AT&T stands in support of the LGBT community. Discrimination is wrong – plain and simple. We hope that others involved with the Olympic Games will do the same.’


In the days leading up to Sochi 2014, HRC linked with 40 other human rights organisations around the world to send out open letters to all Olympic sponsors ‘to urge Russia to halt the rising tide of discrimination, harassment and threats against LGBT people’.


Many of these companies, whilst issuing statements about their support for ‘inclusion’, have been criticised for not going far enough and specifically condemning the Russian laws.




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