Bolder Thinking Blog

AT&T resurrects Lily

June 15th, 2020 | Rachel Arndt

In early May, AT&T brought back spokesperson Lily, who no longer manages an AT&T store, but, like many, now works from home. Lily introduces herself and alludes to current events (even mentioning sourdough bread) without saying “COVID-19.”

By confining Lily to the home, AT&T is working under the creative constraints of COVID-19.  

AT&T has spent $11.9M on the spot, which promotes 5G in a format – video chatting – that’s all the rage during COVID-19, especially in TV commercials.  

AT&T didn’t just put Lily at home to make her relevant to the stay-at-home times. The company also did so to make do with the production and creative constraints marketers face during the pandemic. 

What we think

How can nostalgia marketing support a new launch and connect consumers with a familiar face? AT&T is showing how. But while the campaign is successful now, when it feels so relatable, some creatives could quickly become tired, especially given references to of-the-moment trends like bread-baking. 

Keep an eye out for how AT&T evolves away from self-conscious work-from-home jokes to treating virtual work as a given.  

Rachel Arndt

Rachel Arndt

Rachel Arndt is a Senior Research Analyst, interpreting cross-channel marketing and consumer trends with a focus in telecom.