Sprint Rolls Out Online Campaign

by , Apr 30, 2009, 7:00 AM
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Sprint-This is NowIt's one thing to tell consumers about the immediacy of a cellular network. It's another thing to show it.

Sprint today will begin rolling out the online component of its recently launched "Now Network" campaign with customized takeovers of several popular Internet sites that illustrate the things that are occurring on Sprint's network in real time. Sprint will begin by taking over Yahoo's home page today, and will expand the buy to include AOL, ESPN.com, WSJ.com, People.com, CNT and YouTube during the week.

"We're trying to show the Now Network's relevance," Candice Wolken, Sprint's advertising manager, tells Marketing Daily. "We worked with many of the sites to determine what would go on them."

The online ads, created by Omnicom's Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, will be tailored to each of the sites and will encourage consumers to interact with the information on those sites. On YouTube, for instance, the takeover will feature a clock in which users (who have filmed themselves holding up a pre-assigned number) will become a real-time clock.

"It's one thing to talk in the abstract of the network. It's another to show it," Wolken says. "It also puts the network in a more positive light. A lot of the [industry] conversation is negative -- about things such as dropped calls. This is a more positive viewpoint."

Much of Sprint's focus for this Internet rollout will focus on three specific themes, which Wolken referred to as "passion points" for Sprint customers. Ads for entertainment sites, for instance, will include data about things such as spray tans, movie tickets, the amount of plastic surgeries happening at any given moment and the number of videos uploaded on Sprint's network. Financial and news sites will include a Wall Street ticker, facts about money being spent online and the number of people checking stocks on Sprint phones. The final theme -- sports -- will include information such as weather updates and the cost of hot dogs at sites where the Sprint Nextel NASCAR races are being held.

"The campaign is demonstrating the relevance with Sprint being the now network," Wolken says. "It positions us as a technology leader."

The Internet campaign is part of an initiative that Sprint launched earlier this month. The ads, which brought to life a successful viral widget the company had developed, are themed "What's happening Now?" and bring viewers esoteric facts such as how many tons of eggs are being laid, how many people are researching restaurants and how many people are sending e-mails "right now" (for example, as the ad is airing).

This summer, Sprint will roll out similar real-time updates on out-of-home digital signage boards, Wolken says.

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