MTV Taps SkyGo for Mobile Ads

MTV is taking the road less traveled in promoting its upcoming Video Music Awards, opting to run a mobile advertising campaign in conjunction with wireless ad firm SkyGo.

Through a buy instrumented by its media planning agency, Independent Media Services, the awareness campaign for New York-based MTV’s award show will contain the same elements as online, print and broadcast promotional campaigns.v

Through the agreement, Redwood City, Calif.-based SkyGo will run ads for the Video Music Awards show on sites it represents, which are accessible through networks including AT&T Wireless, Sprint, Palm and OmniSky. Specifically, the buy includes nGame, Funcaster, AT&T Wireless’ Entertainment and Music area, Rolling Stone, Excite, ESPN and on PDA platforms, RealCities.

The ads, created internally by SkyGo for MTV, include banners, interstitials and teasers (text ads preceding a list.) The campaign will run until the show airs on Sept. 6.

Spending was not disclosed on the campaign.

The promotion marks continuing efforts by the MTV Group, a unit of Viacom, to beef up its digital media marketing in an effort to better reach Web-savvy youth. In recent weeks, the company’s Internet unit, MTVi, rolled out a new version of MTV.com and signed a marketing deal with Johnson & Johnson to create a co-branded site for the consumer packaged goods manufacturer.

Meanwhile, SkyGo continues to gain momentum in a space where there’s been little real progress. The firm was one of the biggest players on the scene initially, with its high-profile wireless marketing trial in Boulder, Colo., some months back. SkyGo described the trial as successful proof of wireless advertising’s efficacy, but amid critics’ concerns about the test’s accuracy and an overall slackening of interest in mobile marketing, the space has yet to explode as pundits once predicted.

Still, research groups expect massive growth in the field during the next several years — as new standards and new technology like 3G become more widespread — and at the very least, there’s a teeming minority of early adopter WAP and mobile Web users.

That’s especially true for young people, who typically are among the earliest demographics to embrace new forms of digital communications (such as online instant messaging) and as such, are thought to represent a major portion of wireless Web usage during the next several years.

“There is no question that wireless data will evolve into a viable marketing medium,” said SkyGo president and co-founder Daren Tsui. “Increasingly, innovative advertisers such as MTV are realizing its potential and working with us to incorporate mobile advertising into their multimedia promotions.”

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