AT&T Campaign Gets To The Root Of Search


Before the Internet, people used the Yellow Pages (that's a big book of local companies and services, Millennials) to find what they were looking for in their area. Now, in the age of digital, AT&T Interactive is looking to recapture some of that past glory for its interactive local search products (, and YPMobile) with a campaign that tries to get at the root of why people search.

"No one's really connecting themselves to that emotional reason for why we use search in the first place," says Erick Soderstrom, vice president of brand management and advertising at AT&T, of the television, print, online and out-of-home campaign. "Wanting to make dinner reservations is more than just [looking for a place] to eat -- you're looking for some emotional return for it."

Thus, the campaign looks to draw out the emotions that come with finding the right things through search. In one commercial, a young man drives his truck to a junkyard, obviously looking for something. As he navigates the area, he pulls out an old photo of a young man (perhaps his father) and a car. When he finds a car of the same make and model, a small grin comes over his face, and the words: "YP knows dreams only get stronger with time," appear on the screen. A second spot depicts a young boy and his father heading into a baseball stadium. As the boy views the field for the first time, the text reads: "YP believes in love at first sight."



"This conversation with the consumer is around the fact that we help you find what you're looking for," Soderstrom tells Marketing Daily. "That kind of emotional conversation and that we're here to help at that level isn't anything we've done before."

The commercials (and the print ads) also show's interface which reads "Find [blank] near [blank]," highlighting the company's expertise in understanding the local markets, Soderstrom says.

"If you think about the heritage of Yellow pages and yellow, the strength we have and our expertise is in local," he says. "The strength we have is to bring all the tools of search -- not just listings but reviews -- in one place in a depth of understanding around local that is superior."

The campaign, which was created by Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners in Sausalito, Calif., heavily targets 18- to-34-year-olds. Television ads will be running on news and sports programming, as well as on younger-skewing cable networks like the Travel Channel and E! Online sites will include a similar mix, Soderstrom says.

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