Sprite Creates Mobile Social Networking Site

A limited number of brands have ventured into building a contained social networking site, let alone a mobile-based social networking site. Coca-Cola’s Sprite has taken that leap with an always-on mobile community called “Sprite Yard,” targeted at teens.

Yard acts as a mobile site for users to connect with peers, share photos, and discover content. Modules divide activities into six areas. Pix is an online photo gallery where users can share photos with friends and comment on friends’ photos. Scribbles acts as a message board or chat room where users can hold live conversations. Shouts is an SMS and e-mail-like messaging system with richness and texture. Planner allows users to post a two-week schedule to let friends know of their upcoming activities. Nuggets is a storehouse of digital mobile goodies like ringtones, mobisodes (mostly featuring lemon and lime characters) and other downloadables, which will be unlocked with PIN codes found on Sprint bottles.

“We are excited about the potential of connecting with teens, the on-the-go community. Putting friends in [their] pockets… helping and empowering teens to build out digital communities,” said Mark Greatrex, SVP of marketing communications and insights at The Coca-Cola Company. Sprite hopes the platform is something teens will want to interact with throughout the day

Awareness will be driven not through media buys, but from PIN codes contained in the bottle caps and viral activity. Coke representatives said the company sells 10 billion single-serve bottles globally each year, providing a hefty activation mechanism for its promotional initiatives.

Coca-Cola made a significant investment in building a proprietary infrastructure to run the mobile platform. It plans to add more features as new technologies develop. The community will also benefit from partnerships with carriers, technology providers, and brands like the MBA and McDonalds in China. The mobile foundation could serve to benefit other Coca-Cola brands over time.

The site went live in China on June 1 and will follow in the U.S. on June 22. The two countries represent Sprite’s largest market. Sprite has plans to roll The Yard out to other countries worldwide some time next year.

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