There is native advertising and sponsored content, and then there are the types of ads that just over power the show itself. You have Lily from AT&T native advertising and sponsored content segments in abundance during the NCAA Tournament every year.
These supplement all the Lily from AT&T traditional style commercials that we endlessly see over the course of March Madness every season. And Lily just doesn’t dominate the airwaves, because when you go online, you’ll find she’s the co-Queen on sponsored content “articles.”
For the record the other Co-Queen is golfer-turned-professional Instagrammer Paige Spiranac (pictured above).
These seem to be the rules- every third or fourth native advertising link, at least on sports news websites, has to be about either Paige Spiranac or Lily from AT&T. It’s overkill to say the least.
It’s not that the work of Lily, played by real life actress Milana Vayntrub (pronounced Milan-uh, Vain-trooyb) is bad. It’s way better than some of the other ads (“If it’s covid, Paxlovid!”) that we’ve seen incessantly this NCAA Tournament like.
But it’s just that all ads, no matter how clever they were originally, stop being funny/interesting/memorable the fourth or fifth time you see that. It all gets way worse the more it gets overplayed.
Nothing is watchable the 345,983rd time! That goes double for the non-stop Wendy’s and every band of insurance ads that bombard us during each and every game.
But Lily and AT&T, the “special contributor” as Ernie Johnson always throws to her, is an entirely different animal. It’s interwoven into the fabric of March Madness now.
Again not slamming the work or the people behind it, just the fact that it’s so egregiously overplayed that the viewer basically feels oppressed at this point. The real-life woman behind the Lily from AT&T ad campaign is an American actress born in Uzbekistan to the daughter of Jewish refugees.
She began her career as a child actress shortly after immigrating to the United States, and her TV credits include: This is Us, Days of Our Lives, ER, Key & Peele, Silicon Valley, Robot Chicken, The League and Lizzie Maguire.
Her Wikipedia profile lists her film credits, which include the Ghostbusters reboot, and Mother’s Little Helpers.
Also worth noting, Lily’s last name is Adams. Which is interesting, did we ever learn what Flo’s last name is? By Flo, I mean the pitchwoman from Progressive Insurance.
And no, no we never learned what her last name is, but we do know that she is portrayed by actress/comedian Stephanie Courtney.
Anyway, Lily from AT&T has showed us- sometimes it’s better to work in commercials than TV and film. Or at least that’s often where the real publicity and exposure is. So with it, most likely the money too.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.