PHOTO PHONES STAR IN HISPANIC MUSIC TOUR PROMOTION

Verizon Wireless Promotes Spanish-Language Song and Ring Tone Downloads

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Verizon Wireless is benefiting from the latest craze among concert goers: shooting pictures of the live performer on their phones and e-mailing them to friends.
Verizon photo phones played a major role in the Alejandro Sanz tour promotion.

Phones instead of lighters
"If you stand at the back, all you see is everyone's camera phone," said Nicholas Montes, associate director of multicultural marketing at Verizon Wireless. The company sponsored the just-ended 15-city U.S. tour of Spain's Alejandro Sanz in an integrated promotion that encouraged Verizon users to download Mr. Sanz's popular songs as ring tones and save his picture as wallpaper.

"It's exciting because it's the first time a wireless carrier has promoted Spanish-language applications with a Hispanic artist," Mr. Montes said.

Verizon Wireless worked closely with Time Warner, which previously owned Mr. Sanz's label, Warner Music. Time Warner's People en Espanol and AOL Latino promoted the Alejandro Sanz tour and ran ads. Both Mr. Sanz's tour and his new album are called No es lo mismo ("It's Not the Same"), a line that was woven into print and TV ads by Verizon Wireless' Hispanic agency, Interpublic Group of Cos.-backed GlobalHue. Spanish-language print ads featured pictures of Mr. Sanz on cellphones and copy such as "It's not the same without Verizon Wireless."

Tallying the data
Now Verizon Wireless is collecting and tallying data and evaluating the nine-month Alejandro Sanz program after his last U.S. performance May 23. Mr. Montes said the company will look at factors including Verizon's Hispanic growth and overall Hispanic market share and brand awareness, average revenue per user, and revenue generated from the Sanz data applications.

Verizon Wireless doesn't break out its ad spending, but is believed to account for the majority of Verizon Communications' $35 million-plus Hispanic budget.

Although Mr. Montes could only say that so far the "internal numbers look good" on the Sanz effort, in 2005 Verizon Wireless is likely to be looking for another integrated sponsorship with a Latin recording artist.
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