AT&T- It Can Wait

Amy Roberts

DTC 338

Dr. Rabby

7th November 2015

AT&T- It Can Wait

Company Background:

In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone (The Story of Ma Bell). A year later Bell along with his two partners, Gardiner C. Hubbard and Thomas Sanders, created the telephone company that was the start of AT&T (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica). The company was named the Bell Telephone Company (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica). In 1885 the Bell Telephone Company invented long distance calling, and as response to the new technology they developed AT&T (The Story of Ma Bell). In 1889 AT&T was made the parent company of the original Bell Telephone Company (The Story of Ma Bell).

In the 1900’s AT&T began to take control over the majority of the world’s telephone companies, and in “1939 AT&T controlled 83 percent of all U.S. telephones, and 98 percent of all long-distance telephone lines, and manufactured 90 percent of all U.S. phone equipment” (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica). After this AT&T became known as not only the largest telephone company, but also the largest company in the world (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica). In 1994 AT&T began to control cellphone services by purchasing McCaw Cellular Communications (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica). Today AT&T is known for being the largest company that provides both long distance calling and a variety of television services (The Story of Ma Bell). AT&T has an estimated net worth of 200 billion dollars (AT&T Net Worth).

Advertising Agency Background:

AT&T is currently working with BBDO for the It can Wait Campaign (Diaz).  BBDO was created in 1928 when the George Batten Company combined with Barton, and Osborn (“BBDO Worldwide”).  During the first year of the company 600 people were employed, and the company had earnings of almost thirty-three million dollars (“BBDO Worldwide”). In 1927 BBDO was the first company to create all aspects of advertising for a program that was played on network radio (“BBDO Worldwide”). During this time the agency began purchasing other companies, an act of which they are still doing today (“BBDO Worldwide”). The company has earned a net worth of over two billion dollars (“Agency Of The Year”). BBDO frequently receives awards from various events such as the CLIO Awards (“Agency Of The Year”).  BBDO has done advertising for companies such as Pepsi, Lever Bros, and Campbell Soup (“BBDO Worldwide”).

Background and Campaign Goals:

While the It Can Wait Campaign is going on today, it originally began five years ago. Both the branding agency and AT&T wanted to create a campaign that would show the dangers of driving while using mobile devices (Diaz). Both companies wanted to make all aspects of the campaign personable (Diaz).  In order to achieve this the people working on the campaign were urged to ‘think of this not as an advertising campaign but an opportunity to save lives” (Diaz). The main objective of the campaign is to show the dangers of texting and driving, but AT&T wanted to also increase the consumers’ sentiment of the brand. Increasing the company’s sales was one of the company’s other goals. The company focuses mostly on the It Can Wait Website and Twitter for the campaign, however, they also use YouTube and Facebook. By using the four different social media platforms the company creates a social media mix. This social media mix is made up of the social community zone, the social publishing zone, and social entertainment zone. Although the campaign does not directly use Social Commerce as a platform its purpose is to pull users into the company’s commerce site. The campaign is used as an activation tool because it is used to pull people into the brand continuously. It Can Wait is not a onetime stunt because of the fact that the company has been using this campaign for a number of years. The It Can Wait campaign is used to create a positive brand image of AT&T by showing that the company cares about human lives. By AT&T continuing on with this campaign it shows the company is in the strategic phase of social media. The campaign is working so AT&T has incorporated it into their marketing strategy as a whole. Although the campaign has been going on for a number of years, for the purpose of this case study the current year will be looked at to see how the campaign has achieved its goals.

How the Campaign Played Out:


It Can Wait Campaign Stats

Views Likes/Followers Shares Comments Postings By Brand For The Campaign
Facebook Video 14,844,734 141,183 135,060 6,796 1 (In 2015)
YouTube Video 5,969,379 8,929 N/A 679 1 (In 2015)
Twitter Page N/A 134,000 N/A N/A 22,200


AT&T relied mainly on four different areas for their campaign. They relied mainly on the website that was created for the It Can Wait Campaign, a Twitter account created for the campaign, AT&T’s Facebook account, and a YouTube channel.

The central hub of the campaign is the website that was created for the campaign. The It Can Wait website is split into the categories Apps and Tools, Take the Pledge, and Get Involved. The Apps and Tools section is split into its own sections. The first section is the AT&T Drive Mode App. The purpose of this app is to silence incoming text messages from a person’s cell phone while the person is driving. The app also sends an automated text message letting the text sender know that the driver is currently behind the wheel. The second part of the section is the Safely Go App. This app is similar to the first, but it receives all cell phone notifications. The website includes instructions on how to create text message short cuts to let people know that the driver is about to get on the road. The website also has two different driving simulators. Both simulators show the dangers of what can happen when a person uses their phone while driving. This section of the website also includes instructions on how to create text message short cuts to let people know that the driver is about to get on the road. The second section of the website is the Take the Pledge Page. On this page people are able to sign the pledge saying that they will not use their cellphones while driving. Currently over seven and a half million people have taken the pledge. The last section of the website is titled Get Involved. Here AT&T gives visitors a kit to help share the message of the dangers of using a cellphone while driving.

w1 w2 w3 w4 w5

AT&T also uses YouTube to help share the It Can Wait message. This year’s video is titled Close To Home, and was uploaded in July. The video depicts six normal people going about their daily lives. One person looking down at their phone changed everyone’s lives forever. The video ends with the message “AT&T reminds you it can wait”. The Close To Home video has close to six million views, and over six hundred comments.

The It Can Wait twitter page is the only part of the campaign that is creating new content every day, and it receives most of the campaign’s focus. The page has one hundred and thirty-four thousand followers. AT&T frequently shares creative images and captions to continue to share the It Can Wait message. One of the pictures that AT&T has shared is an image of a monkey stating, “Hey, quit monkeying around while you drive.” This image, as well as most of the other images shared, contains the tag line “Eyes on the road not on your phone. It Can Wait.” Each post that is shared also contains the hashtag It Can Wait. Other twitter users are sharing the message with the same hashtag. Sofia Vergara contributed to the conversation by using the hashtag, and tweeting a video out of her using the driving simulator. AT&T responded by retweeting Vergara’s tweet. Vergara’s tweet brought more attention and engagement to the campaign. Her tweet alone was retweeted one hundred and twenty times.  AT&T has also used the hashtag Tag Five To Save Five. The purpose of this hashtag was for twitter users to tag five people on twitter that they want to encourage to not use their cellphones while driving. The hashtag is still being used today. One of the most popular parts of the campaign that played out on twitter was Fletcher’s Story. AT&T tweeted out a video that was titled Fletcher’s Story. The video shows how a successful young football player’s life was changed drastically by the person in the other lane using their cell phone. AT&T pared the video with the hashtag it can wait. The video was retweeted 4.8 thousand times, and had 3.6 thousand likes. AT&T increased engagement throughout their campaign by retweeting tweets that used both the hashtag It Can Wait and the hashtag Tag Five To Save Five. The company retweeted both celebrities’ tweets and everyday people’s tweets.

twitter1 twitter2 twitter3 twitter4

The last social media outlet the campaign uses is Facebook. AT&T shared the Close To Home video that was originally shared on YouTube, but they combined it with the It Can Wait hashtag from twitter. The video received over fourteen million views. The hashtag has encouraged others to get involved on Facebook. Various people have shared the message and hashtag daily. AT&T has not continued to share the message on Facebook themselves after the video was originally posted.


Current Campaigns in the Same Product Category:

Two of AT&T’s main competitors are Verizon and T-Mobile. Both companies are working on current social media campaigns. Verizon is currently working on the campaign #shatterproof. The purpose of the campaign is to launch the new Motorola Droid Turbo 2s.  The campaign started with a number of videos displaying the shatterproof screen. The videos were shared on twitter using #shatterproof. Users started to engage by creating their own vines about the shatterproof phone. Verizon retweeted some of the vines that were created. The #shaterproof campaign is ongoing with new content being produced almost daily. T-Mobile is currently working on a new social media campaign. The campaign is Unwrap the Surprise. By interacting with the campaign on twitter the user is able to access special holiday deals. The campaign not only increases engagement, but also leads more people to the site where the goods are sold. Both Verizon and T-mobiles campaigns are short in length compared to AT&T’s ongoing It can Wait campaign.

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How Would You Rate the Campaign’s Success?

The It Can Wait Campaign can be thought of as both successful and non-successful in regards to the brands activity and customer engagement. The It Can Wait twitter campaign has been highly active, and has shared new content daily. AT&T was also successful interacting with their customers through twitter. By using the various hashtags AT&T was able to track their customers. The company retweeted many of the tweets of customers who were spreading their message. The twitter page also had a high rate of engagement from its users. The It Can Wait twitter page had one hundred and thirty-four thousand followers at the time. Many of the followers interacted with the brand by liking tweets, retweeting, and using the hashtags provided by the company. Fletcher’s Story had a higher relative pull than any other part of the campaign used on twitter. The video was retweeted 4.8 thousand times compared to Vergara’s tweet that was retweeted one hundred and twenty times.

The It Can Wait Website was also successful because of the fact of how much content it produced that allowed users to engage. The website allows users to take the pledge, and then share the pledge on Facebook and Twitter. Users taking the pledge lead to more engagement by allowing other users to follow in their predecessors’ suit. Users were encouraged to tag friends in the post which increased the likely hood of others engaging. The users were even able to see how many people have taken the pledge at a certain point in time. The website is also successful because it encouraged engagement through interactive simulators. The website also encouraged engagement with providing tool kits for users to pass on the campaign’s message.

The Close To Home YouTube video is successful because of the sheer number of views it received.  The video received close to six million views. The viewers also interacted by liking and commenting on the video. Over 8.5 thousand people liked Close To Home. The Facebook post of the same video can be thought of similarly. Close to fifteen million people viewed Close To Home through Facebook. Users also engaged with the post by liking, sharing, and commenting on the post. The video received over one hundred and thirty five thousand shares. However, the brand’s activity on these channels was not successful because they only posted about the campaign once per channel.

The campaign can be thought of as being overall successful. It Can Wait has caused many users to engage with the brand, and to spread the message of the dangers of texting and driving. According to social mention, AT&T currently has a sixty four percent passion rating. The company also has a 57:1 sentiment rating .The campaign has been going on for five years, but people are still constantly engaging with it. The people who are engaging with the campaign are doing so in a positive manner, and they are spreading AT&T’s message.

Works Cited

“Agency of the Year: BBDO.” AdWeek. 11 Dec. 2011. Web. 7 Nov. 2015.


AT&T. “Close To Home: It Can Wait.” Online video clip.
     YouTube. YouTube, 16 July. 2015. Web. 8. Nov. 2015.


AT&T. “Don’t think it can happen to you? Think again. #ItCanWait.” Online video clip.
     Facebook. Facebook, 10 August. 2015. Web. 8. Nov. 2015.


“AT&T Net Worth.” RSS. 8 June 2012. Web. 7 Nov. 2015.


“AT&T – Page 1 – Social Mention Search.” AT&T – Page 1 – Social Mention Search. 15 Nov.

  1. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.


“BBDO Worldwide (Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn).” Advertising Age AdAge Encyclopedia   RSS. AdvertisingAge, 15 Sept. 2003. Web. 7 Nov. 2015. <>

Diaz, Ann-Christine. “The Story Behind AT&T’s Disturbing Phone-Safety Ad.” Advertising Age

     Behind The Work RSS. 27 July 2015. Web. 7 Nov. 2015. <


It Can Wait. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. <;.

It Can Wait. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. <>

The Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica.”AT&T Corporation | American Company.”

Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.


“The Story Of Ma Bell.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 9 July 2001. Web. 7 Nov. 2015.


T-Mobile. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. < >.

Verizon. Web. 8 Nov. 2015. <>.

AT&T- It Can Wait

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