We believe a brand that puts people ﬁrst must develop marketing messages and offers for products and services that earn and maintain customers’ trust. Responsible marketing should represent a diverse and inclusive audience and should contain clear, concise and accurate content.
As one of the largest advertisers in the U.S., AT&T has a responsibility to create content that represents society, as well as our products and services, accurately.
As stated in the AT&T Code of Business Conduct, we succeed in the marketplace by competing aggressively, but fairly. Our products and services stand on their own merits. We do not misrepresent the characteristics of our products and services, and we do not deceive our customers or engage in any other unfair practices.
AT&T’s consumer marketing organization is responsible for creating offers, determining pricing, and the go-to-market strategy for consumer services and products such as broadband internet and video, two of our leading pillars for growth. Our limited time offers and marketing campaigns are designed to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace and to stimulate sales through unique and promotional discounts, pricing, features or add-ons.
When creating new offers, AT&T’s consumer marketing and advertising organizations first ideate the offer’s messaging and positioning to create the most appealing campaign in the market. We work with ad agencies that bring the offer’s value to life and collaborate with our brand and legal teams to ensure we are consistent with AT&T’s voice and position in the marketplace, and that we are in compliance with consumer advertisement practices – such as deceptive advertising or legal claims.
Throughout the process, we ensure the advertising creative and value proposition messaging aligns with the offer, and that the offer is clearly and plainly represented. Once finalized, the marketing strategy and offer details are communicated widely to all consumer-facing sales and customer service organizations, such as to call center agents and representatives in our retail stores and authorized agent locations.
After an offer has gone to market, real-life feedback from our call center agents and retail associates, as well as critical analysis from our customer experience and business analytics teams, is incorporated into decision making for current and future offers. If needed, messaging for an active offer is adjusted to ensure customers and sales representatives easily understand it.
In AT&T’s business marketing organization, our product marketing, channel marketing and marketing communications organizations work together to identify opportunities for new services and promotions that address the needs of business customers – whether local or global in scale. Services provided to business customers include mobility, wireline, fiber-based internet, networking services, security solutions and cloud-based offerings as well as the Internet of Things.
The creation of new offers, advertising process and offer launch are aligned to Consumer Marketing. However, within Business Marketing, certain business channel marketing and business sales organizations are organized by vertical segments, allowing teams to gain a deep understanding of the unique needs of industries such as healthcare, transportation, finance, retail, education, state and local government, and sports and entertainment.
Gender Equality Measures
Our overall marketing approach begins with the diverse composition of our teams. They use our AT&T Inclusion Playbook to inform a non-biased approach to creating content, respecting the entire spectrum of diversity, including gender and cultures, as well as the LGBTQ+ population and veterans and those with accessibility needs. The Playbook provides thought starters for content creation teams to accurately portray people and eliminate the inclusion gap in AT&T content. Designed as a tool for decreasing bias in content, this program continues to drive innovation in the copy testing of ads and was recognized by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) for leading positive change.
In 2017, we pledged our support to the ANA #SeeHer initiative to increase the accurate portrayal of women and girls in media 20% by 2020, as measured by the ANA Gender Equality Measure™ (GEM™). Eliminating bias is not only a moral imperative; it’s a business imperative. Advertising with higher GEM scores delivers better business outcomes, including stronger brand and message recall, brand reputation, consideration and, ultimately, purchase intent. As a company that takes a data-driven approach to advertising, seeing the beneﬁts that come with higher GEM scores has fueled our ongoing progress.
In 2018, AT&T committed to improve the representation of women and girls in our advertising by 20% by the end of the year – 2 years ahead of the goal set by the ANA. AT&T fulfilled that commitment by improving by 25% in the same timeframe. We’re well on our way to reaching #SeeHer's new goals for 2025 and 2030, challenging advertisers to ensure the accurate portrayal of women and girls in 40% of ads at or above GEM benchmarks by 2025, and 80% by 2030. In fact, the majority of AT&T’s ads measured in 2018 and 2019 met or exceeded GEM benchmarks, representing an improvement from 2017. AT&T measured advertising currently surpasses #SeeHer’s new 2025 milestone, and we’re taking steps to meet the 2030 target.
Customer Data Privacy
Data helps us create more reliable products and services, helps improve security and detect fraud, and provides customers with customized offers. But customers count on AT&T to protect their information and respect their privacy. We take this responsibility seriously and work hard to maintain their trust.
We provide our customers with information – and choices – about how their data is used. We publicly post privacy policies to educate consumers on the information we collect through our products and services, and our policies for obtaining proper consent to use such information. This includes compliance with regional consumer privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). To help customers understand our practices, we describe our technology and services in simple terms and provide a consolidated resource for privacy policies, rights and questions at the Privacy Center.
Our advertising unit, Xandr, provides marketers with advertising solutions enhanced with valuable customer insights from AT&T’s TV, mobile and broadband services – combined with extensive ad inventory including WarnerMedia’s cable networks and premium content from third-party media brands. As part of our efforts to boost transparency, we offer an Online Advertising & Ad Tech Glossary to educate consumers on the advertising industry’s many technical terms. We ensure the data Xandr collects does not reflect names, email addresses or other information that directly identifies a user. And Xandr never sells data from our platform pertaining to any individual that we know is a minor. For more information, see our Customer Privacy issue brief.
Customers have the ability to restrict AT&T’s use of their Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) for the purposes of receiving offers about new types of products and services from the AT&T Family of Companies. For more information, visit the Customer Proprietary Network Information website.
Customers have the ability to manage how they want to be contacted by AT&T by opting out of receiving telemarketing calls and emails. When building marketing campaigns, AT&T accepts and honors a consumer’s request to be added to AT&T’s Internal Do Not Call list, in addition to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) National Do Not Call list, and various state Do Not Call lists as appropriate, to avoid making unwanted calls to consumers. For more information, visit the National Do Not Call Registry.
Third-Party Advertising on Our Platforms
Our approach to product responsibility also focuses on the content we create. We have depiction policies that govern aspects of feature films such as tobacco use, particularly for content of interest to younger audiences. And in 2019, guided by consumer warnings from groups such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, American Medical Association and the American Lung Association, WarnerMedia discontinued advertising from tobacco and e-cigarette companies on our basic cable channels, such as TNT and TBS.
Periodically, third-party-branded products and/or services may appear or be referenced in WarnerMedia productions. In some cases, they are added by the content creators as organic set elements, relative to the environment or storyline; this brand inclusion generally does not involve compensation or consideration from the brand. In other instances, either the content creator or WarnerMedia may enter a brand partnership with an advertiser and incorporate a product and/or service within a relevant storyline. In certain instances, these brand placements may be part of a larger media purchase. When done thoughtfully, inclusion of brands in content can benefit many parties:
- the media/content creator – as a revenue source, and mechanism for reducing the overall cost of production
- the audience – by enhancing content and offering advertising that is relevant and less intrusive
- the advertiser – by developing an environment for their ad that drives deeper awareness and engagement with their product and/or service
AT&T also strives to use our platforms to increase awareness of important causes. Through WarnerMedia, DIRECTV and Xandr, we donate airtime and advertising inventory to qualifying non-profit and government organizations for public service announcements. Our commitment to closing the opportunity divide also includes the Xandr Tech for Good Public Service Announcement (PSA) Program, which helps non-profits advance through free advertisements. When ad space is unfilled, Xandr shows public service announcements from participating non-profits, rather than let that space go to waste. This helps non-profits increase reach by hundreds of thousands, as well as generate site visitors, donations and volunteers.
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