Spots Air on MTV, VH1 to Help Lure 15- to 30-Year-Olds

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NEW YORK ( -- Virgin Mobile USA kicked off a national TV campaign aimed at 15- to 30-year-olds for its new wireless service.

The first four commercials in the campaign, created by Leagas Delaney, San Francisco, broke Aug. 2 and will run initially on Viacom's MTV, MTV2 and VH1. MTV, VH1 and Viacom siblings Nickelodeon and CMT (Country Music Television) have partnered with Virgin on wireless content, marketing and promotion.

Virgin Mobile USA is a joint venture between Virgin Group and Sprint Corp.'s Sprint PCS. The Viacom partnership seemingly will give Virgin access to the Generation Y crowd.

Cheeky spot
In one cheeky spot,

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titled "Cheese Sandwich," a potential wireless customer is asked to choose between a typical cell phone service and Virgin Mobile's. A cheese sandwich stands in for an ordinary plan and when the customer takes a bite, she's told she has to pay for the whole sandwich as well as hidden charges. The disillusioned customer heads to a Virgin Mobile retail outlet where a singer woos her and she enjoys "pay-by-the-bite" pancakes -- a reference to Virgin's pay-as-you-go wireless service.

Five 15-second spots hit on key features of Virgin's service and its retail partners. Outdoor advertising appears in major cities, including New York, where a billboard with a sexy young vixen appears adjacent to the Virgin Megastore in Times Square with the come-on: "Take Me Home and Turn Me On."

The ad budget was not disclosed.

Links from TV shows
Virgin content partner MTV, whose studios are across the street from the Virgin Magastore in Times Square, plans links from its TV shows to the wireless service.

"We will be polling people about things on air via the Virgin service, and there will be MTV news updates," said Bob Bakish, executive-VP of business development and chief operating officer of ad sales for MTV Networks.

The data service will deliver an array of branded content from MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and CMT including text alerts and a joke of the day.

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