Visible Sets its Sights on Austin (and Taunts T-Mobile) with a Takeover, Local Partners
Building on lessons learned from a previous takeover campaign in Denver, Visible, the cheeky, all-digital phone service brand owned by Verizon, set its sights on the Austin market with a 12-week campaign involving experiential and local partnerships across the lifestyle, food, music and sports categories, as well as an activation that made its debut the during the Austin City Limits music festival, Oct. 1-3 and 8-10.
The activation, designed to disrupt the sponsor landscape on-site and, specifically, poke festival sponsor and competitor T-Mobile, featured a “T-Mobile pink” mechanical bull ride inspired by Visible’s “wireless without the bull” campaign marketing messaging. The footprint included wood paneled walls, ranch-style gates (painted Visible blue), ambassadors clad in blue overalls and cowboy hats, instructions to “opt into going for a wild ride,” the bull ring, an announcer stage and a branded “swagon.” Consumers could switch to Visible service on-site, or sign in at a kiosk to opt-in to receive more information. Current Visible customers were eligible for “extra-special swag,” but all riders walked away with a prize.
“We did a deep analysis of both market and consumer research for Austin, and really tailored our efforts to this community’s preferences and liking to ensure it speaks the right language,” says Pearl Servat, head of brand marketing at Visible. “The overarching creative strategy was all about leveraging locally known and notable names to help carry the narrative of the brand and to help accelerate it.”
- EM Executive Chat with Pearl Servat, Visible’s Head of Brand Marketing
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The omnichannel takeover features targeted OOH placements throughout the city and digital and social promotions from its partners. This included Visible signing on as the official wireless partner of Austin’s pro soccer club, Austin FC, and leveraging its fan club for an authentic spin on the sponsorship. Other key partners include Austin musicians Black Pumas; Austin chef Kristen Kish, actress Odette Annable, BMX athlete and local resident Chase Hawk, Bachelor Nation’s Connor Saeli and Mike Johnson, and the iconic Tex-Mex restaurant El Arroyo.
The activation comes on the heels of last year’s Red Rocks Unpaused, which reshaped what meaningful partnerships could look like for a digital-first brand, and Visible’s #ProudlyVisible Pride campaign that launched in June but is designed to continue the conversation with storytelling throughout the year. This latest campaign was inspired by elements from both of those programs. Combining them in Austin to create a “holistic marketing push,” the brand plans to repeat the strategy in multiple markets over the coming months.
“We’re calling this a ‘heavy up’ sort of moment, but then beyond this, we’re going to continue to maintain a presence in the market, so that it doesn’t feel abrupt with comings and goings,” Servat says. “I’m so happy that omnichannel is back. With this campaign, we’re bringing elements of the national plan to this local campaign and reorganizing them so that they speak to you in a different way as a local. And through ‘breadcrumbing,’ we’re building that trust and familiarity and doing things that will resonate and create an a-ha moment for you.”
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