VidCon 2016: AT&T's ambitious Hello Lab project has chance to shine

Earlier this year, AT&T launched an ambitious mobile-first program, Hello Lab, teaming with 10 influencers to create content over a year-long span. AT&T partnered for the third time with Fullscreen Media’s Strategic Content Group to tap into the latter’s roster of high-profile influencers (AT&T is a part owner of Fullscreen).

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While the influencers have creative liberty – a must for any good any influencer program – fan participation is at the heart of what’s produced: audiences have the ability to shape the stories, becoming co-creators in the process.

“Unlike other branded programs, AT&T Hello Lab truly puts the audience first, by not only inviting fans into the experience, but by allowing them input to move the stories forward,” Bryan Thoensen, svp of Fullscreen Media's strategic content group, told Found Remote. “While each show is part of the bigger AT&T Hello Lab program, the individual influencer experiences are different and designed to uniquely engage their specific audiences – from music to magic to travel to sports to writing and more. AT&T Hello Lab also gives creators a likeminded group of peers to engage with and new audiences to reach. “

In one example that highlights the participatory nature of the program, Grace Helbig crowdsourced a novella, ‘Freak Week’ on the young adult-geared writing platform Wattpad. She checked in with her audience each week via YouTube to gather feedback as she wrote the book. This resulted in over 314,000 story reads and entries from all over the world.

Helbig will be reading the final book this week at VidCon before thousands of fans, and other Hello Lab influencers, including travel duo Damon and Jo, magician Collins Key, Instagram comedian Brandon Armstrong, and Snapchat star Shaun McBride (Shonduras) will also be at the conference.

AT&T will use its presence at VidCon to showcase the Hello Lab, which, three months in, has already resulted in brand lift.

“Fan participation has succeeded beyond expectations,” Liz Nixon, director, emerging and social media marketing at AT&T Mobility told us. “With four of 10 shows in market, the program is already having a positive impact on AT&T’s brand metrics. After engaging with Hello Lab content, young millennial and Gen Z audiences are significantly more likely to name AT&T first for top-of-mind brand awareness, and their perceptions of AT&T as a leader in innovation as well as a brand that they are proud to use, are notably higher.

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