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Wireless Leads Sony's 'XXX' Push to Generation Y

An ongoing wireless and Internet campaign for the new “XXX” movie by Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment has garnered about 6,400 registrations of cell phone numbers.

The campaign by mobile marketing agency Adversoft uses links on and e-mails from sites like CollegeClub.com and Zingy.com to collect numbers and interact with cell phone users for stoking interest in “XXX.”

Two-thirds of registrants are ages 13 to 24, 22 percent are 25 to 35 and the rest are older than 36. The audience is split almost evenly between males and females. Based on the movie's appeal, the campaign's emphasis is on the youngest tier.

“They want to get through to this audience, which has a very limited attention span,” said Griffith David, vice president of business development at San Diego-based Adversoft. “They're jaded with all their traditional media outlets, so to get through to them, wireless is the best way to go.”

Directed by Rob Cohen, “XXX” stars Vin Diesel as Xander “XXX” Cage, an underground thrill seeker who is forced by a National Security Administration agent (played by Samuel L. Jackson) to infiltrate a Russian crime ring. Sony's Revolution Studios produced the movie.

CollegeClub.com and Zingy.com, both online partners in this exercise, offer just the traffic Sony needs for its latest release: consumers mostly younger than 25. CollegeClub has 2 million members, and Zingy is a popular destination for downloading tunes, ring tones and icons.

Visitors to CollegeClub.com can click on “Win a Sony HandyCam” and “What's Hot” links on its home page. That action leads to a landing page created by Adversoft. Here, details like name, ZIP code, cell phone, sex, age and e-mail address are asked. Users also are asked to view the movie trailer.

On Zingy.com, visitors click on the “Ready for the Challenge?” link on the home page and are led to the registration page.

Once registered, users are sent a few teaser SMS push messages on their cell phones. These are followed by a round of questions that tests users on their knowledge of the movie.

After the movie fans accept the “XXX” secret spy mission by registering online, they go to the “boot camp” and train to be like the “XXX” spy by interacting with text messages and polls on their cell phones.

The first 500 people who responded with correct answers downloaded for free “XXX” ring tones and icons from Zingy.com by entering a unique code. The ring tones and graphics were gone 10 minutes after the promotion went live. Subsequent downloads will cost the user.

David said the ring tone is about four to five rings, or 20 seconds, and is from the “XXX” theme song.

“The more you become like 'XXX,' the more your personal cell phone also reflected that and took on 'XXX' characteristics,” he said.

After the quizzing phase, registered users are sent SMS messages urging them to book tickets to the movie by calling Fandango, a ticketing service.

Besides links on the home page and banner ads to draw attention to the “XXX” effort, CollegeClub.com has already sent two e-mails to its list. Zingy.com sends reminders in its weekly e-mails. Users can link to the registration page via the e-mails as well.

Gaining traction with practitioners like Sony, two-way SMS in the United States is now nearly three times that of the wireless Internet, while the number of consumers receiving one-way SMS — sports, news and flight updates — is double the number of those who browse content, according to Jupiter Research.

And despite a slow start, Jupiter expects wireless advertising to catch up with Europe and Asia by 2006. Studios like Sony are in the vanguard of such steady progress. For instance, a Sony campaign for “Ali” yielded 8,000 cell phone subscribers. Sony used similar wireless tactics to promote “Spider-Man” and “Men in Black II.”

David is confident the “XXX” campaign will yield about 10,000 cell phone numbers, many of them having the option to receive wireless updates on forthcoming Sony movies.

“Sony is trying to communicate to the audience in a medium that the audience totally resonates with,” he said. “It's a direct campaign like e-mail, but the difference here is that it's soliciting responses over the course of the campaign.”

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