In the mature U.S. wireless market, competition to find new customers — or to lure away current customers from other carriers — is fierce. Seeing an opportunity for growth among young millennials and especially digital-savvy young Latinos, AT&T is launching a campaign Monday called #BetweenTwoWorlds to win over young bicultural Latinos.

#BetweenTwoWorlds is a new advertising and social media marketing campaign focused on the lives of multicultural, bicultural and/or acculturated millennial Latinos — i.e., young Hispanics between their teens and mid-30s who easily identify with both mainstream U.S. culture and their Latino background.

Launching Monday, July 21, the campaign is part of AT&T's larger millennial outreach strategy called The Mobile Movement (TMM), which was launched earlier this year during SXSW. Partnering with Virtue, a creative agency that's an offshoot of the hip documentary and news organization Vice, AT&T's TMM campaign is a documentary-style series of ads based on the real-life stories of young customers centering on how modern digital technology affects their lives.

Along with a Tumblr page, TMM includes several YouTube-based ads, including the tongue-in-cheek confessional "Mobile Love Stories," where real millennials talk about their love-hate relationships with their mobile phones, and "The Network Diaries", a tonally more earnest scripted series depicting the lives of the super-connected generation.

The Latino Movement

Starting Monday, Between Two Worlds joins AT&T's TMM millennial outreach campaign, starting with similar documentary-style spots that features real AT&T customers talking about their bicultural lives, taken from a longer documentary produced with Vice. The first spot for AT&T's Between Two Worlds campaign takes an interesting tact on millennial Hispanics' biculturalism. One version of the commercial is in Spanish and will run on Hispanic media.

But the other ad spot uniquely embraces so-called "Spanglish." The term, in this case, means a fluid mix of both Spanish and English from young Latinos who are comfortable using both languages in the same sentence, rather than referring to slipshod attempts at providing content in Spanish, like in the case of last year's government health care website for Hispanics.

The Spanglish approach is a new way to look at Hispanic millennials living in the U.S. who simultaneously live in two worlds (hence the campaign's name, which is not an homage to Zach Galifianakis's "Between Two Ferns"). Here's the full documentary short with Spanglish, from the Vice/AT&T collaboration:

Like other TMM productions in collaboration with Vice, the focus of AT&T's documentary and ad spots is not on plans, phones, or special promotions, but instead explores what living in the modern digital world feels like. The Latino-focused commercials add the layer of ambicultural life, featuring confessional-style comments from real-life young Latino customers on their use of both languages, their aspirations, and other insights on living in a increasingly connected and combined culture that AT&T hopes will resonate with millennial Latinos.

The Between Two Worlds campaign will be the first of AT&T's TMM marketing initiatives to hit traditional TV and cable networks, as well as the web. The Spanish-language commercial will be appearing on Univision, Telemundo, and other national Spanish-language networks, while the Spanglish spot will run on bilingual channels like MTV Tr3s, Fusion, and the web, along with Spanglish content on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Some radio and print media will also feature the campaign.

Competition for a Valuable Market

Millennials are increasingly the focus of marketing campaigns in the U.S. wireless industry and beyond, and the Latino segment within that generation is especially valuable for wireless carriers.

That's because wireless in the U.S. is a mature industry, with nearly 100 percent penetration of the marketplace. In layman's terms, that just means that nearly everyone you know, aside from perhaps some of the very old or very young, have a mobile phone and a plan.

As of June of this year, according to statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), there are almost 300 million wireless broadband subscriptions in the U.S. That's more than double of the next largest country for wireless and just 18 million shy of the currently projected population of the U.S. — which includes infants and toddlers, some of whom may even have their own phone. Officially, this means wireless market penetration is at about 96 percent, but excluding those who can't walk or talk yet, it's safe to say that about 100 percent of the possible wireless market has been reached.

According to AT&T's research, millennials represent 23 percent of the U.S. population, but more importantly, they account for about 56 percent of all "switchers" — those who can be swayed to leave their current carrier — in the wireless marketplace.

Within that segment, multicultural millennials represent about 30 percent of switchers, with Hispanic millennials driving the majority of that phenomenon, according to AT&T. And as many independent studies have shown, young Latinos are also especially ahead of the digital curve, being more likely to consume digital content through mobile devices, more likely to own and upgrade their smartphones, and twice as likely to be content creators on the web or otherwise actively involved in the digital world through social media and other creative outlets online, like writing reviews or comments.

AT&T's new initiative takes an intimate, cultural approach to courting Latinos. 
(Photo : AT&T)

AT&T's chief competitors, Verizon and T-Mobile, haven't ignored that information either, and each has attempted to reach Latinos in its own way. Verizon, for example, opened a new smartphone boutique for Latinas last year headed by Jennifer Lopez called "Viva Movil" and T-Mobile has Shakira on its "Uncarrier" team, along with a partnership with Univision for a recently launched Latino-focused mobile service called Univision Mobile. 

In its own initiative to reach Latinos, AT&T's competitor T-Mobile partnered with Univision in May. 
(Photo : T-Mobile)

The difference with AT&T's campaign, according to Vanessa Astros of AT&T Corporate Communications, is that T-Mobile and Verizon's leveraging of Latin music stars or introducing specialty brands for young Hispanics doesn't "get to the heart of the matter." The #BetweenTwoWorlds initiative explores "what it feels like to be in their shoes" and pays homage to Latinos' cultural background and bicultural lives, seeking to "really resonate with Hispanic millennials by allowing them to tell their story of what it is like to live in this ambi-cultural world." For AT&T's new Hispanic outreach phase of The Mobile Movement, pushing service plans or smartphones takes a backseat to talking about culture and young Latinos' unique perspective.

So what do you think of the Spanglish Vice-style documentary ads? Let us know in the comments section.

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