How AT&T Reached Asian Millennials

This is part of the ANA Multicultural Marketing Series.

By Jennifer Jones

Away We HappenedAT&T has been serving Asian customers for many decades, but today’s competitive environment requires new approaches to elevate your brand. Our goal was to focus on tech-savvy Asian Millennials who often influence the purchasing decisions for the entire family.

Given Asians’ affinity for web-based content, especially digital video, we decided, in 2012, to develop an online campaign, in conjunction with our Asian agency of record, InterTrend Communications. We partnered with Wong Fu Productions to produce an interactive, six-episode drama series titled Away We Happened, an engaging boy-meets-girl story. AT&T products and services were naturally integrated into the storyline because they were representative of how the age demographic typically interacts. With more than 13 million views, the campaign far exceeded our expectations and encouraged us to move forward with two subsequent series.


Target: Second-generation-plus, bicultural Asian youth.

Objective: Elevate the perception of AT&T as an innovative and preferred brand among Asian youth.

Strategy: Team with Asian influencers to produce a web series where fans could engage in the process of the story.

Solution: Weave AT&T’s network, products and services into the storyline.

Here’s how AT&T’s Asian Pacific Islanders for Professional and Community Advancement (APCA) resource group supported the series:• APCA distributed information to its membership outlining how they could vote on the various videos that were produced. This included outreach to family and friends.• APCA shared the campaign in its monthly newsletters.

• The Atlanta chapter also hosted a lunch & learn session in September 2012 titled “AT&T Improves Your Love Life.” Jones was the keynote speaker at the session.


Work with influencers among Asian Millennials to generate viral interest in the campaign, using the production company’s YouTube channel, Facebook page and other social media.

  • Generate additional interest by featuring popular Asian actors (Victor Kim and Jen “frmheadtotoe”) who have their own extensive social-media followings.
  • Leverage internal employee-resource groups dedicated to Asian employees to promote the series in their circles of influence.
  • Collaborate with AT&T external-affairs group to promote the series with Asian constituency groups.
  • Culminate each episode with a question and call to action, asking fans to determine what would happen next.
  • Generate interest through online forums where fans could provide feedback and offer input on what they would like to see in future scripts.
  • Strategically use paid digital media.
  • Conclude the series with a live, behind-the-scenes session with the production company and the actors.


  • Generated 13 million views, 1,300 percent greater than the original goal.
  • Exceeded the number of targeted engaged users (449,000) by 174 percent; the campaign had universal appeal.
  • Earned an Effie Award for AT&T and InterTrend.
  • Increased by 17 percent the percentage of respondents who rated AT&T as “the best” or “one of the best” wireless brands in an online survey.
The ANA’s membership includes more than 525 companies with 10,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing and advertising. The ANA strives to communicate marketing best practices, lead industry initiatives, influence industry practices, manage industry affairs, and advance, promote, and protect all advertisers and marketers.


  • Know your target audience. What are their passion points, and how can you tap into them?
  • Team with influencers who can help you tell your story.
  • Seek universal appeal. Even though AT&T’s primary target was Asian youth, young people from all demographics responded to the campaign.
  • Keep raising the bar. Millennials don’t want to be entertained passively—they want to participate. Hence, the two subsequent series have featured increased interaction with fans.

One series, of course, is just the beginning. We know that we have to continue to be active in many ways with this segment, touching them where we can, when we can, and through their passion points.

Jennifer Jones is Vice President of Diverse Markets at AT&T Services, Inc. AT&T is No. 13 in the DiversityInc Top 50.

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