Virgin Sings the Praises of Free Ringtones

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Virgin Mobile "2 AM"
Virgin Mobile's latest campaign from Fallon/N.Y. features ordinary-looking people belting out a cappella renditions of common phone conversations -- the call in the middle of the night, the call after you get out of the shower, the call where you can't talk because someone is in the room, etc. The spots -- and the singing -- promote free "real music" ringtones available from Virgin, and all the commercials feature the tagline, "For the Love of Music."

"The Virgin Mobile brand has some strong associations with music already and we wanted to borrow some of that equity," says Fallon/N.Y. ECD Ari Merkin, who notes that he knew the campaign might be a difficult sell. "It's the kind of thing you just have to see, so we went out and shot the first one ourselves."

After shooting a spot titled "Call Waiting" in-house, the agency turned the rest of the campaign over to MJZ directing team Kuntz & Maguire, who were chosen, Merkin says, for their touch with dialogue. "There were lots of different ways to approach this, but we wanted it to be as natural as possible," he says, explaining that the performers were culled from a New York casting call that sought both professionals and non-professionals with singing talent. "We wanted the performances to grow out of the people and their individual singing styles." And the styles do run the gamut -- from soul to a spot-on Jack Black impersonation in a spot titled "2 AM."

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