Want to know how many times a particular word has been tweeted? Or what is the national debt -- and what is your share? And oh, by the way, do you want to know how many calls are being made on Sprint phones right now? These and other random facts are being pushed out via a downloadable screensaver and widget, both part of Sprint's "Now Network" advertising campaign.
"It's not just a standard screensaver. It drags data from social networks, Flickr feeds," Rob Smith, group account director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners told ClickZ. The agency created the ad campaign for Sprint.
The "Now Network" campaign first started in early April with TV spots, which were followed by a widget site. Last week, Sprint released a widget-based screensaver that can be downloaded from the same site. (Below is an example of a widget embedded in an iGoogle page.)
The campaign promotes the Sprint network's ability to provide people with information that can be accessed anywhere from their mobile handsets. "It's a recognition that phones are more than what they used to do," Smith said. "Cell phones are really more of a PC or computer experience in your hand."
A person can customize the screensaver or widget. For instance, Goodby developed an application that allows a person to see how many times her name turns up on a Google search. A person can also add their user name for Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube content to the screensaver so that personal feeds, photos, videos, and tweets appear in the application. Users can also enable the widget to receive local weather, traffic updates, and other relevant alerts if they type in a Zip code and other information.
"The campaign as a whole is very oriented to the digital medium, a very great medium for us to demonstrate now," said Candice Wolken, digital marketing and advertising manager at Sprint.
Next to random factoids such as the number of houses being built (30) are stats that play up Sprint services, such as "Sprint Data Downloading" (3,659,300 KB).
Sprint also carved out a spot on the widget and screensaver to allow for other promotions, including an ad for the June 6 release of the Palm Pre, a smart phone capable of running on Sprint's 3G network. The carrier hopes the phone will go head to head with the Apple iPhone, which is offered by AT&T and runs on a 3G network. Videos promoting the Palm Pre phone and its capabilities could be seen on the Now Network page last week.
Sprint's ad campaign message is in contrast to campaigns from other carriers that center on the number of bars, dropped calls, or friends in a network plan. Previous Sprint campaigns touted a calling plan with free evenings and weekends that started an hour earlier than competing plans.
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