top of page
  • lifecubefa

Promoting a Thirst for Sprite in Teenage Cellphone Users – NYT

Promoting a Thirst for Sprite in Teenage Cellphone Users By LOUISE STORY, New York Times (NYT) Published: June 7, 2007

The Coca-Cola Company is hoping its new mobile site for social networking, Sprite Yard, will become the MySpace of the cellphone world.

But some marketing executives say the plan could instead become the BudTV of the soda world — a failed effort to build a community around a brand.

Sprite Yard, to be introduced in the United States this month, will look a lot like the social networking sites that have become popular on the Internet. Consumers will be able to set up personal profiles, share photos and chat online with friends, all using cellphones rather than computer screens.

People will type in codes from Sprite bottle caps to redeem original content, like ring tones and short video clips called mobisodes. Recently, one of the most redeemed prizes from Coca-Cola promotions has been virtual clothing and furniture to use in virtual online worlds, said Mark J. Greatrex, senior vice president for marketing communications and insights at Coca-Cola.

Sprite Yard was introduced in China last week, and Coca-Cola plans to extend it globally and perhaps to other soda brands over the next few years. For the time being, Sprite Yard will function only on cellphones — the medium that Sprite’s marketing team said was the most popular with teenagers.

“Being with them on their mobile phones is absolutely essential,” said Mr. Greatrex at a news conference yesterday. Sprite, he said, is “trying to establish an omnipresent, on-the-go, everywhere relationship with teens.”

As more consumers send text messages and surf the Internet from portable devices, media companies and advertisers are starting to create content specifically for mobile viewing. Most consumer brand companies have tested the waters with cellphone advertising that centers on text messaging; in those campaigns, advertisers typically encourage cellphone users to send a text message to a specific number to receive free content or enter a sweepstakes.

Sprite Yard will take cellphone marketing a step further, establishing a permanent mobile site with a variety of features rather than a short campaign, advertising analysts said.

“It is a comprehensive commitment as opposed to the toe-dipping we’ve seen up to date from other marketers,” said Christine Overby, an analyst at Forrester Research. “This is a significant commitment from a mainstream brand to use mobile in their marketing mix.”

Sprite marketers say their soda is particularly popular with teenagers, but it follows six other soft drinks in terms of sales across the general population, according to Beverage Digest. As more consumers drink water, teas and energy drinks instead of soda, Coca-Cola has been looking for innovative ways to generate loyalty, said John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest.

But Coke could see trouble if teenagers run up high data charges on their phones using Sprite Yard, said Jonathan Sackett, chief digital officer at Arnold Worldwide, an agency that is part of Havas.

Another challenge will be for Sprite Yard to become a media destination in its own right. Advertisers generally leave it to media companies to create content, because capturing an audience is not easy. BudTV, a Web site with original content that the Anheuser-Busch Companies introduced in February, is viewed as a cautionary example, with lagging Web traffic.

Advertising executives said that Coca-Cola could have a hard time creating a popular site even in the new mobile world. Facebook, for example, will be a competitor with a mobile version of its site.

“Nobody wants to go hang out with Sprite,” said Chad Stoller, executive director of emerging platforms for Organic, a digital advertising agency in the Omnicom Group. “It takes a lot for a brand to ask that of a customer. You really have to be getting something compelling in return.”

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Call Centers in Manilla Philippines – UNITED AIRLINES

It is amazing how many companies spend millions building a brand on advertising and hiring great employees, but fail miserably in customer care. United is my poster child of the week for bad customer

Herding Cats Video (EDS Commercial)

Over the years, I’ve herded my share of cats in building businesses and creating art. I can remember the first time I saw this video and how many people I sent it to. The EDS Herding Cats commercial w


bottom of page