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Sprite Looks to Mobile Community to Build Brand

Campaign Aimed at Young Adults Depends on Cellphone

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The little screen got a boost to becoming a bigger media player this week when marketing leader Coca-Cola Co. revealed marketing plans for its Sprite brand -- one which puts mobile at the center of its ad effort to snag teens and therefore future generations of customers.
The cola brand is setting up 'Sprite Yard,' a mobile community where its young-adult target can share information, photos and chat.
The cola brand is setting up 'Sprite Yard,' a mobile community where its young-adult target can share information, photos and chat.

Mobile treats
Mark Greatrex, senior VP-marketing communications and insights, will launch the "Sprite Yard," a mobile community where its young-adult target can share information, photos and chat. And by using numbers printed under bottle caps, they'll be able to collect mobile treats such as ringtones, mobisodes and other content. The U.S. launch is June 22; the Yard was launched in China in early June.

Coke's Mr. Greatrex went to great lengths to detail the benefits of mobile over traditional media at the Mobile Marketing Association's annual forum this week at New York's Marriott Marquis. Customers, he said, have access to the brand "all of the time."

Thomas Gewecke, exec VP-global business development, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, reinforced the theme. "We want mobile to be part of every marketing activity we carry out," he told the audience. He said distribution over new-media platforms is essential for the music industry, noting that CD sales are continuing to decline, dropping 30% in the past six months.

Additive, not erosive
But Bernard Gershon, senior VP-general manager, ABC News Digital Media Group, cast aside any fear that the new media was eroding the old. "Every platform is proving to be additive" and not erosive of the old platforms, he said.

And in comments that appeared to indicate that consumers were accepting of advertising on the mobile phone, Alana Muller, director-wireless data management, Sprint Nextel, called customer adoption of advertising "strong." In fact, one of the carrier's major concerns -- expensive call-center complaints -- did not materialize, she said.
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