Feeds

Watch ads, get free calls says Virgin Mobile US

Getting 'something for something'

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Virgin Mobile USA is giving hard-up youngsters the chance to make free phone calls in return for watching ads. The "yoof-oriented" cellco has hooked up with ad outfit Ultramercial to launch the ad-for-airtime service called "SugarMama".

So far, Virgin Mobile USA - a joint venture between Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Sprint Nextel which boasts some four million punters - has recruited Xbox and Pepsi, among others, for the ad service.

Punters interested in SugarMama must first fill out a "demographic profile" before confirming that that they are at least 13 years old. Once the admin's been done, they can watch a streaming video ad.

Customers get free airtime depending on the number of correct questions they can answer about the ad. Alternatively, they can respond to text-based ads to earn free minutes.

Either way, the suits behind the scheme are looking to generate revenue from mobile advertising. For advertisers, it's yet another way to get their brand or product across to this hard-to-reach youth audience.

"Everyone is racing to shove ads into the mobile channel," said Howard Handler, top marketing bod at Virgin Mobile USA. "But the last thing young people want is spam on their phones.

"This service acknowledges the savvy and free will of our customer base. Our attitude, and that of our partners, is that these customers' time is valuable. They should get something for giving us something. And that's what SugarMama is all about."

Earlier this year mobile marketing firm I-movo began recruiting punters to beta test a new service that offers mobile phone users in the UK to send text messages for free in return for viewing ads on their phones. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.