Case Study: AT&T's 'On the Way to Saturday'

By Erik Spanberg, Sports Business Journal

Published November 26, 2012

AT&T depends on social and digital media to keep customers happy, so the company’s marketing automatically veers in that direction. This fall, much of that effort can be seen in a seasonlong college football campaign.

Known as “On the Way to Saturday,” the program, developed by The Marketing Arm, encourages social and digital activity through constant prompts based on the travels of a pair of hired college football fans named Will and Ravi. They are young actors who happen to be football fans, too, said Travis Dillon, vice president of activation and property management at the agency.

AT&T’s online reality stars tie in various sponsorships — with bowl games, schools and the networks airing games — while tracing the adventures of the actors as they follow the ESPN “College GameDay” pregame show from campus to campus each week. Along the way, Will and Ravi have to complete various challenges by using their AT&T phones and networks and hints and help from football fans who text, tweet and post on Facebook to live vicariously through the tour.

Shorter, condensed items are pushed out to fans throughout the week, chronicling not only the on-campus experiences but also the endless road trip itself. In turn, the links and messages encourage more site traffic to watch longer-form videos, spurring more chatter in the process.

College football fans can follow the exploits of Will and Ravi as they follow the ESPN “College GameDay” pregame show and compete in various challenges along the way.

ESPN “College GameDay” airs a minute-long feature each week tied to the campaign and more content can be seen at a dedicated site, way2saturday.com. Prizes linked to fans who offer advice and challenges include tickets to the national championship in January, where winners will attend the game with Will and Ravi.

Dillon said the campaign showcases AT&T’s core business, demonstrates how the company’s products are relevant, reminds fans of the brand’s extensive college football relationships, and provides a consistent national presence all season long.

“For fans to keep up with Will and Ravi, social media plays a critical part,” he said. “We’ve asked consumers to tell the guys what restaurants they should go to, what traditions they should keep their eyes on. And every time the guys complete a challenge, it’s a new opportunity for [customers] to win.”