Cannes Lions

Score the iPhone

R/GA , New York / VERIZON / 2019

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With the announcement of the latest iPhone, we were tasked by Verizon to create excitement around the device at launch. Our goal was to own the highest share of voice amongst the competition at launch while driving consideration for upgraders and network switchers.

Coupled with phone launches getting less and less exciting, and users waiting longer to upgrade their devices, our execution had to rise above a sea of sameness to get the notice and recognition needed to shift behaviors and drive business actions.

Rather than rely on deals and promotions that commoditize the entire category, we needed to create an experience that leaned into what made the device special. In differentiating the brand, we had to differentiate how to approach device launches.


To launch the latest iPhone on Verizon, we created a new way for people to experience music with the brand: Score the iPhone—the first AR social music mixer, entirely within the Snapchat social platform. In the mobile experience, players found, caught, and mixed musical loops from over 40 diverse genres in augmented reality. The loops were represented as 3D animated objects, each visualizing a genre of music. To create mixes, players needed no musical knowledge; they simply dragged and dropped the loops onto one another. After completing and naming their mixes, players shared them on social, inviting others to join. Contestants submitting the best mixes won a new iPhone on Verizon.


As the market leader, we needed to reaffirm our leadership position with our activation. Rather than get into a promotion war with our competitors, we had to deliver an impactful, innovative experience that invited prospects to engage with the brand; serving as a stepping stone to a deeper relationship.

Telecom customers are experiencing launch fatigue as new smartphones have less innovative features to incite upgrades and switching. Through research, we discovered that one of the most popular uses of smartphones and data networks is for streaming music, with Americans spending on average 32 hours a week listening. We saw this as a great opportunity to position the iPhone as the premier music device, so we partnered with Apple to offer free Apple Music subscriptions for all new iPhone purchases on Verizon. Our creative idea needed to promote this offer in an engaging and innovative way.


Players were invited into Snapchat where in augmented reality they found 3D musical “loops” which appeared wherever they were (e.g. indoors, on the street)—from over 40 genres of music. The genres represented a diverse range, ensuring authenticity and mass appeal from casual to hardcore music fans.

To create the loops, we studied a sampling of songs from each genre, breaking each down to identify what makes them distinct. Then, we composed original loops, capturing the same spirit and sound. We also wanted the AR loops to look authentic, so we studied each genre’s key imagery (album covers, posters, merchandise, t-shirts) to create living, breathing musical expressions of the music.

Once players found and saved loops, they combined them to make new mixes in AR. The mixing required no prior musical knowledge. The music loops and visuals were composed and designed to blend seamlessly, ensuring a satisfying result.

Our entire campaign was socially led, with national teaser content across all major platforms before launch and targeted social engagement units throughout to encourage game play. As new players found and mixed loops, they shared their new mixes on social, and we awarded the best ones a new iPhone on Verizon.


Over 1 million players participated, making the experience the largest social activation in Verizon’s history, with an additional 150 million impressions. Verizon saw a 130% lift in ad awareness and a strong CTR of 2.00%—505% higher than benchmark. We reached #2 share of voice, and positive sentiment reached nearly 100% from participants—a rarity with millennial audiences. The activation drove 90,000 users to our pre-order site. In addition, the bounce rate (dropout rate) was a low 15%, compared to 60% for most activations of this type.

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