The communications company is rolling out a campaign called ‘The Team that Wouldn’t Be Here,’ a two-week initiative that kicks off with a 60-second TV spot during the AFC and NFC Championship games. The campaign highlights the real stories of 12 NFL stars. They include coach Anthony Lynn of the LA Chargers and 11 NFL players, all of whom experienced a life-changing situation – car accidents, childhood house fires, and devastating natural disasters – and the first responders who saved them. The name of the campaign is a nod to those who saved lives – if it weren’t for a first responder they would not be where they are today.
According to Diego Scotti, Verizon’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, the campaign shows off years of dedication to honoring and working with first responders.
“The relationship with first responders is something we’ve been doing since the beginnings of the company, so it’s been a longterm relationship,” Scotti told The Drum.
Scotti said that the connections between the company and those responders is an important one. “One is the positioning as America’s most reliable network. For them to do their job, we need to do our job right, and that’s why they rely on Verizon…more than 50% of first responders in America use Verizon,” he said.
Scotti said that this was a year that people needed a positive message, and paying tribute to people that serve others was a way to do that. “It’s an important business opportunity for us, but also this bigger message of positivity,” he said.
The films, helmed by famed director Peter Berg, capture the stories of both the responders and the NFL players who were involved in accidents and life-threatening situations where first responders saved them.
“The first thing that we did when we started this campaign was to think who can help us tell these stories better than anyone. The name that came to mind was Peter Berg, the director of movies like Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon, Friday Night Lights. Because he’s a great filmmaker, number one, but he has a very strong connection with military and first responders,” said Scotti.
He went on to say that Verizon created a unit of sorts, full of documentarians with a journalistic approach to go find the stories and the people. “It turned into a big project. I couldn’t be more excited and proud of the work, because working with Pete and (agency) McCann (one of several Verizon agencies working on the campaign) has been a great effort.”
Verizon had so much rich first responder testimonials and content that it inspired them to make a 30-minute documentary, directed by Berg, focusing on the backstory of the first responders featured in the campaign. It will premiere in Atlanta at Super Bowl Live on January 31.
Additionally, Verizon is partnering with First Responders Outreach, an organization dedicated to providing grants for emergency relief, training, and essential equipment so first responders are prepared. For every social share that includes #AllOurThanks through February 3, Verizon will donate $1 up to $1.5m to the First Responders Outreach.
A dedicated microsite, AllOurThanks.com, features more campaign content and information, including additional player story vignettes, info on the donation component and more.
While the in-game Super Bowl ad is still under wraps, it will be a part of the series.
“I’m a firm believer that brands should be in the Super Bowl, only if they have something good to say and that they have a really compelling idea. The Super Bowl is a great platform, in that you have millions and millions and millions and millions of eyes,” said Scotti.
He stated that the first responder campaign is a continuation of Verizon’s commitment to the company’s trust it has with both the first responder community and its customers.
“This is a message of reinforcing (trust)…first responders rely on Verizon, and Verizon is a network you can rely on as a consumer. It keeps reinforcing that positioning of reliability, trust and quality. We see it as one piece of what we’re doing,” claimed Scotti.
See some of the short films by clicking on the Creative Works box below.