To increase T-Mobile Tuesdays' program engagement, awareness, and participation, T-Mobile announced a new partnership with Taco Bell and leveraged a National Super Bowl ad while also launching a multi-channel activation.
Objective and Context:
As the "Un-carrier," T-Mobile's goal is to make customers feel appreciated in an industry that historically hasn't treated people well. T-Mobile Tuesdays is a customer appreciation program that allows it to thank customers with free stuff, no strings attached.
After two years of such thanking, T-Mobile began looking for another way to increase program awareness and participation, and further drive brand love. It made a big step forward in the program by announcing a new partnership that it knew would appeal to its consumers: a free Taco Bell taco every week.
The T-Mobile app audience skews female and has a large millennial core. Its program is extremely inclusive, and demographics reveal that T-Mobile Tuesdays' audience is more diverse than T-Mobile's overall customer base. This diversity across ethnicities offers its partners a desirable potential audience.
Through qualitative and quantitative research such as user testing, focus groups, and app surveys, T-Mobile knew that its audience prefers food offers above any other category. Through past redemption patterns, it noted customer preference for free or credit offers. Partnering with a nationally loved brand like Taco Bell to offer free tacos to a valuable and diverse audience was a no brainer for both brands.
With such a big new partnership, T-Mobile knew that announcing within the app experience and social was not enough to reach a broad group of consumers. It decided to leverage the biggest, loudest media vehicle available: a national Super Bowl ad. Beyond the TV spot, it launched a multi-channel activation through T-Mobile-owned social media channels (both the brand handle and the executive team's social presence, particularly CEO John Legere's social handle), in-app, PR, digital owned channels, and the T-Mobile website.
The creative approach to the T-Mobile Tuesdays and Taco Bell Super Bowl ad revolved around a culturally relevant meme featuring texting. Knowing that T-Mobile's audience is heavily mobile-centric and tuned in to the latest trends, tapping into a relatable moment like picking a place for dinner between two partners was a perfect way to introduce the new partnership and offer for free tacos. This creative approach extended across all four spots that it had during the Super Bowl. One ad included a free Lyft offer for T-Mobile Tuesdays as well.
Since T-Mobile's Taco Bell partnership was so successful, it also activated "T-MoBell" Stores, where for three days in three cities it offered customers free Taco Bell food, an exclusive T-MoBell Freeze, and free mobile swag.
Overall Campaign Execution:
The T-Mobile Tuesdays app is extremely easy for users; with a simple phone number authentication, any T-Mobile post-paid customer can get access to its deals. The Taco Bell taco was redeemed through Taco Bell's website. By making this process easy and simple, T-Mobile was able to drive T-Mobile Tuesdays engagement along with Taco Bell sales.
Its technology stack also allowed for flexible messaging during the Super Bowl, where it was able to schedule unique content for each of the four quarters of the game relating to that quarter's TV spot.
While T-Mobile Tuesdays is primarily for the mobile app, it leverages social media channels to increase engagement and buzz around its offers. Frequently, T-Mobile is lucky enough to have customers share their T-Mobile Tuesdays experience, driving the brand forward as the "Un-carrier" in the wireless industry.
The social activation around the Super Bowl obtained more than 36,000 social mentions for T-Mobile, yielding 2.48 billion impressions. Legere's social activity also yielded more than 780 million impressions due to Super Bowl posts. He teased information about the Super Bowl ads on social, driving excitement from consumers pre-game and pumping up the actual Super Bowl ads on social media.
The campaign exceeded expectations, and performance pushed forward what is now a full, ongoing partnership between Taco Bell and T-Mobile. From 2018 to 2019, Super Bowl engagement increased across the board. T-Mobile saw a more than 50 percent increase in online articles, 190 percent increase in broadcast stories, and 187 percent increase in broadcast audience size.
With Taco Bell, it achieved impressive results:
In addition to immediate success following the Taco Bell campaign, the first half of 2019 was extremely successful for T-Mobile Tuesdays across the board:
Customers responded well to the campaign, and press was extremely positive. Media coverage included 87 unique online articles (142 with syndication) with a total potential audience of 17,016,966 for the Taco Bell deal.
Customer satisfaction was up across several studies during the Super Bowl activation: