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Inside AT&T’s competitive experience for gamers that really shows off its speed


By Audrey Kemp | LA reporter

June 14, 2023 | 5 min read

The campaign won in the Consumer category at The Drum Awards for Marketing Americas 2023.

peple playing a game

AT&T’s ‘Speed Showdown’ won in the Marketing Strategy for Consumer category / Credit: AT&T

When it comes to gamers, two things are abundantly clear: they love gaming but they don’t love engaging with brands. So how does AT&T Fiber let gamers know that their high-speed, reliable internet will improve gameplay, without making them feel like they’re sitting through an ad?

It started with two truths: one emotional, one physical. The emotional truth is that competition fuels gamers. The physical truth is that all gamers think they have the fastest reaction times. From there, creative agency Critical Mass set out to create a game that would simultaneously challenge gamers, be share-worthy among the gaming community and introduce players to AT&T Fiber’s speed along the way.

The Brief

Partnering with SnapChat and leveraging its touch technology, Critical Mass created Speed Showdown with its incredibly simple prompt: tap as many blue orbs as you can to prove how fast your reaction times are (with the speed of the dots increasing along the way). But, like with all games, getting the pacing just right proved to be an immense challenge – the speed had to start at a pace accessible for a mass audience, but ultimately become fast enough to challenge even the most skilled gamers. If the game was too hard from the outset, not enough people would play.

And if it wasn’t hard enough by the end, succeeding in the game wouldn’t be worth sharing with friends and followers.

The Idea

After weeks of adjustments with Snap’s development team, Critical Mass got it just right. And to make it official, it teamed up with 100 Thieves to test out the game and see for themselves... Noah and Brooke played, approved and posted their high scores on social to build buzz, garnering even more attention in the gaming world.

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The Results

By creating a competitive experience for gamers, AT&T was able to introduce itself to the audience on their terms … and it worked big time. Speed Showdown achieved a 236% lift in CTR to the campaign landing page, a 5% reduction in bounce rate and users spent 62% more time with the game compared to the benchmark – collectively playing for over 3.4 years.

With Speed Showdown, the brand learned that when it comes to gamers: make it fun, make it competitive and the rest will follow.

This campaign won at The Drum Awards for Marketing Americas 2023. Find out more about The Drum’s Global Awards program or head to our case studies hub to read more award-winning stories.

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