AT&T Leverages NCAA March Madness Via Sportscaster Duo ‘Just OK Is Not OK’ Campaign

Fronted by two fictitious sports casters – Ken (played by Mark Neely) and the clueless Phil (played by Tim Baltz) – commentating courtside in a series of comic commercials, AT&T’s ‘Just OK Is Not OK’ campaign activates its NCAA partnership through the 2019 hoops tournament.


Baltz’s character, clueless color commentator Phil, who thinks his job as the color commentator is to actually comment on colors, also misunderstands when he’s asked for insight into his time as a player, claiming that those stories would not be appropriate because he’s now happily married, and reveals – in another commercial – that he thinks a guy who got a rebound is actually on the rebound.


Launched days ahead of the start of March Madness 2019, the NCAA presenting partner’s spots present a range of comic scenarios were it would be wrong for things to be ‘just OK’ – although the narrative examples they show are much worse than OK.


The long series of ads include one spot in which Phil misunderstands when he’s asked to give some insight about his time as a ‘player’,



another in which he confuses the meaning and intention around the word ‘rebound’,



plus an ad in which the word ‘freebird’ causes commentator confusion,



and another in which he thinks the role of a ‘color’ commentator is to comment on the ‘colors’.



The consistent message is that AT&T wants to remind us that commentating, like communication, is one of those occasions when ‘Just OK is not OK’.


The spots, which all carry the campaign’s ‘Just OK is Not OK’ tagline, they also include Bob Christianson’s CBS college basketball theme as a soundtrack.


As well as television, the campaign runs across the brand’s digital and social channels (including FacebookTwitter and YouTube).


The campaign was developed in harness with the Omnicom Group via creative led by BBDO, digital by BBDO Worldwide and media handled by Hearts & Science.


The brand’s tournament activation is also supported by the usual bracket initiative as well as plenty of bracket fun,





as well as various game-related content linked to its presenting partner status.



The campaign promotes AT&T multi option offering for fans to watch all 68 teams and 19 days of March Madness live, online and on device across four platforms: DIRECTV, U-verse TV, DIRECTV Now and on the DIRECTV App (as well as its 5G Evolution programme).




Sure, some of the spots are fairly funny and entertaining enough, but if rule one of successful advertising relies on having a message that is simple to understand, then we aren’t entirely convinced that this initiative fulfils the basic requirement.


Some consumers clearly weren’t too impressed.













NCAA March Madness








Omnicom Group Inc






Hearts & Science



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