Cannes Lions

Eclipse Impossible


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We illustrated a perfect scenario to showcase AT&T’s latest tech giving aid to the disadvantaged. We seized a once-in-a-hundred-year opportunity: a highly-anticipated coast-to-coast solar eclipse in August 2017, spanning the North American continent from Washington State to Georgia—the physical limit of AT&T’s national cellular coverage map. In expectation of nearly 200 million sun gazers looking to record and share the moment of eclipse, engineers from AT&T had begun the difficult task of adding supplemental mobile cell towers from coast-to-coast. Then there was the idea… Of the millions using phones to watch and share, what experience was being offered to those unable to see? How could we make this a spectacle for the 1.3 million legally blind Americans? The answer would require exploring new AT&T products in development, harnessing a vast network of partners, and incredible logistics focused on delivering one man’s eclipse hopes, shared with a community of vision impaired.


Work started in our AT&T newsroom, where we covered network preparation activities ahead of the eclipse. In that 65 days ahead of August 21st, we identified useful technology at AT&T, casted an authentic and willing subject, and coordinated logistics between the site of the totality, our hero’s hometown, Georgia Tech’s Sonification Lab and AT&T’s Foundry in Texas. We executed a plan to livestream a sonified experience of the eclipse for the vision impaired. Concurrently, we pre-captured key elements of the story, for footage to be inserted during the live event. Finally, we established a distribution plan that involved media relations, social, paid social, influence and employee relations, all driving awareness of our goal and teasing tune-in during the eclipse. Throughout the live campaign, we devised a cadence for delivery of every artifact from lead-up, to live, and the 48 hours after the eclipse to tell the story of James Boehm.


Tier 1 results: 1.43 billion impressions led by mainstream media pickups with Fox News, USA Today and local affiliates, the Atlantic, Mic, CNBC, The Washington Post and many others in tech and trade publications. Additionally, social conversation generated another 5.4 million impressions. Throughout the campaign, AT&T saw steady search engine keyword lift connecting AT&T to the eclipse, with a 17X spike on August 21st 2017—the day of the eclipse.

Tier 2 results: Indication and awareness of completed objectives with AT&T newsroom analytics reporting key visits and time on-site from industry peers like Amazon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Hewlett Packard, Cox and Solenis.

Tier 3 results: A 1500% increase in site traffic to key technology partner Aira, and a substantiate increase in demand for product information and a 200% lift in Aira sales.

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