AT&T is using the stories of prominent African Americans to help consumers "Rethink" what's possible in their lives.
In a television and online campaign, the company tells the stories of four notable African Americans it has dubbed "Iconic Achievers" and the ways in which they are going about changing the world. One video profiles singer, songwriter, author (and former model) Tyrese Gibson, telling the story of how he grew up in Watts, a section of Los Angeles, surrounded by what he calls "drugs, drama and dysfunction," and how winning a talent contest as a teenager helped him out. (The video also mentions Gibson's status as spokesperson for dropout prevention program Community in Schools.)
Other videos profile Jennifer Jones Austin, who is a leukemia survivor and senior vice president of community investment for the United Way in New York (who changed her career paths away from being a corporate attorney after reading an article about a young man who murdered his father after suffering years of abuse); Mario Armstrong, an entrepreneur and blogger who is working to eliminate digital illiteracy and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage.
The videos will run as 30-second television commercials on TV One, while 15-30 minute video interviews with each of the subjects will be available on AT&T's U-verse video platforms. AT&T executives were not available by deadline to comment for this story.
In a secondary promotion, AT&T is also sponsoring an "Imagine the Impossible" online sweepstakes, through which members of BlackPlanet.com will have the chance to win $500 or a lunch date with one of the video subjects. Entrants will have to submit a story about how they similarly beat adversity through hard work, dedication and/or the use of technology.