AT&T Mobility: AT&T’s LGBTQ+ Campaign, The Love Connection


Campaign Summary

In June 2021, AT&T committed $750,000 in further support of The Trevor Project, an organization aimed at suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ+ youth. The company needed to lift perceptions of AT&T's commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, and its role in supporting through digital access and active allyship, outperforming benchmarks.



AT&T needed to highlight AT&T's allyship while helping the community thrive and find a way to further support the community with its campaign.

Target Audience:

AT&T wanted to reach the LGBTQ+ youth where they communicate. The company defined youth as less than 30 years old.

Even before the pandemic, LGBTQ+ youth have been found to be at significant increased risk for depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicidality (according to Russell & Fish's Annual Review of Clinical Psychology in 2016), with even more increased risks pronounced among youth who are transgender and/or nonbinary (according to Price-Feeney, Green, and Dorison in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 2020).

Frequently isolated from normal support structures such as families (only one in three LGBTQ+ youths in the U.S. find their home to be LGBTQ-affirming, according to The Trevor Project in 2021), LGBTQ+ communities often rely on texting, video calls or social media for support systems.

Further, 71 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth access gender-affirming spaces online, and being able to connect via texting, video calls or social media helps them to feel seen or to link with likeminded people. In short, they rely on connection. Remarkably, LGBTQ+ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide, according to The Trevor Project in 2021.

Creative Strategy:

AT&T has carried on its longstanding legacy through maintaining a commitment to ally with its diverse customer base, including the LGBTQ+ community, for which AT&T partners with organizations representing the best interests of the community.

AT&T wanted to ensure its campaign was helpful, especially given the mental health challenges that LGBTQ+ youth face. To celebrate the partnership, shine a light on AT&T's allyship and The Trevor Project's work, the company went beyond representation only and gave non-binary, transgender, and gender nonconforming individuals a platform to share their true journeys in depth.

AT&T is in the business of creating connections, so it would create a video series that encouraged positive conversation, understanding and raised awareness, going beyond purely representation, and giving an in-depth insight into the difficult journeys that the LGBTQ+ individuals have experienced. Yet AT&T also needed to ensure that the space it was creating would be safe and would employ strategic moderation tactics to protect the community from any potential hate comments.


This campaign has been created after a renewal of the partnership between AT&T and The Trevor Project. While the partnership has existed previously, this is the first year for The Love Connection campaign.


Overall Campaign Execution:

AT&T sourced a credible partner to tell the stories of the lives of real people from these communities. The company selected ATTN:, a media company with a track record of consequential, socially-conscious content and followers, who exemplify purpose-driven work and leadership in conversations that matter.

In partnership, AT&T created a raw documentary series that would bring a needed awareness to the diversified LGBTQ+ community. Its series "The Love Connection," featured nonbinary, transgender, and gender nonconforming individuals to uncover important tipping points in which talent hinged on moments of connection, highlighting the foundations of community and support alongside unjust hardships and violence endured.

In one video, Alok, a gender nonconforming person, described the harassment and antagonistic remarks their flamboyant appearance incites. However, despite the negativity, they encourage others to "live life on their own terms," highlighting the way the community's sense of unity is reinforced through the ability to reach out via calling or texting.

Peppermint, a Black trans woman, spoke out about dating shame in the trans world. She explains how through technology, she and her partner remained connected while living in separate countries. Peppermint highlights the importance of engaging with others experiencing similar circumstances through platforms like the Trevor Project.

Aydian, a transgender activist, father, and husband, revealed how most people did not understand his transition journey, prompting him to investigate others' trans experiences online. Soon after, he began creating his own videos, catching the attention of the woman who is now his wife of 10 years.

Finally, Laith, an actor, singer, songwriter, model, and trans man, shared his story on how important it was for him being able to call his supportive aunt when he was outed as a teen, and how that potentially saved him from devastating suicidal thoughts.

Mobile Execution:

Distributed through social channels, the two-fold theme of the videos was connection, and how technological connection can support individuals through the ease of communication. Embracing AT&Ts flagship positioning, each video included the language, "it's not complicated," followed by an insight laddering up to the Trevor Project, allowing AT&T to showcase itself as a brand supporting inclusion and connectivity from both a human and technological vantage point, and highlighting how straight forward the support of these communities should be.

A major challenge presented itself during the campaign process. Protecting the LGBTQ+ community from online backlash necessitated strategic moderation tactics. To encourage positive response and conversation, comments were closely monitored and red flag lists were updated on a continual basis, evolving, and increasing the efficacy of the moderation approach.

The key takeaway was refining how to navigate such a sensitive campaign on public platforms while protecting — and empowering — the community AT&T sought to uphold. With The Love Connection, AT&T has proven to be a brand of integrity through endorsing such a polarizing topic amidst online hate, meanwhile ensuring the protection of the vulnerable people involved.

Business Impact (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

Though AT&T has supported LGBTQ+ causes for decades, the visibility around its efforts has been historically underrepresented. AT&T also knew its platform has influence and knew from its research the importance of making a substantial investment.

The Love Connection demonstrated major success. The videos overdelivered against contracted views so far by a staggering 198,000. All videos received engagement rates well above benchmark, with Alok's video receiving a 9.5 percent Facebook engagement rate, almost double the 4.6 percent ATTN: benchmark.

Amidst a complicated initial reaction from audiences with varying beliefs, The Love Connection campaign garnered overwhelmingly positive responses and encouraged conversation between the LGBTQ+ community, their allies, and those less understanding. Comments ranged from defending the LGBTQ+ individuals, the life-saving capacity the Trevor project provides to mis-labelling gender while other commenters corrected language.

In general, the campaign outperformed message association by 11.2 times. The memorable content also drove audiences down the purchase funnel, with exposed viewers now more likely to consider AT&T as their next wireless provider.Overall the consideration intent was 5 percent higher compared to the control group, and outperformed consideration intent benchmarks by 2.5 times.

The campaign resulted not only in a major success for The Trevor Project and ATTN:, but also fortified AT&T's commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. Though AT&T's branding was subtle, a seed was planted.

All creatives were effective at driving overall campaign performance. They were able to positively alter viewers' perception of the AT&T brand. Customers could associate the company with an upholding of acceptance of all people no matter their identity or personal preferences. The campaign achieved 19 percentage point lift (13 percent to 32 percent) in agreement to the statement of AT&T supports the LGBTQ+ community through digital access and active allyship.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Brand Purpose/Activism, Diversity and Inclusion | Awards: NA Bronze Winner, NA Silver Winner, X Global Finalist