Rae Ann Fera:

It turns out they could make it happen. Here’s how: Three sports were selected as the campaign’s focus–swimming, gymnastics, and track and field. BBDO then created six versions of the commercial in advance, two for each sport alternately featuring a male or female athlete, with hundreds of different endings to account for a predicted range of winning times.

AT&T worked with longtime broadcasting partner NBC to arrange for access to the footage within unusually quick turnaround times so that they could create a campaign that would stand out from the hailstorm of sponsored messages.

Once one of the athletes pegged as likely to win is competing, a team from BBDO sits in London and waits. If the athlete performs well, it’s go time. A winning result means that footage has to be selected, sent to London-based post house Absolute for integration, the pre-canned shot with the winning time has to be selected and edited together. It’s then sent to NBC and the USOC for approvals and on air within 24 hours of the win.

It’s a cycle AT&T is able to repeat up to five times for five winning athletes.

I was wondering the same thing myself. Good spots, definitely got noticed by my wife and I.