Virgin Mobile Helps Kids Beg for Mobile Service

Virgin Mobile USA has rolled out an online “Parental Enlightenment Kit” to help its young prospects convince their parents to buy them its “Pay As You Go” mobile plan over other carriers’ family plans.

The kit, at enlightenmentkit.com includes several downloadable components, including printable stickers for plastering around the house, t-shirt iron-ons, and a “PressurePoint presentation” designed to facilitate family meetings in a corporate sales mode.

The lead creative agency was Mother New York, and the Barbarian Group packaged and built the site.

With the site and its accompanying print ads, Virgin is essentially trying to assist kids with an undertaking they’ve always excelled at: wearing down mom and dad’s resistance to buying them what they want.

Paul Malmstrom, partner and creative director with Mother New York, puts it somewhat more delicately. “You’re actually giving tools to the teens… to open up a conversation with their parents,” he said.

The creative is heavy on slogans and leans toward the kitschy. A downloadable poster uses the tagline “A Virgin Home is a Happy Home,” and a t-shirt iron-on says “Dead Beat,” which is what Virgin says any teen put on a family plan will inevitably become.

The deadbeat/freeloader theme appears in several executions. A printable sticker — one of about 20 on the site — cautions, “WARNING: If you put me on a family plan you will begin the cycle of freeloading that will inevitably lead to me living in the basement with nothing but a cot and a pizza oven when I am 30.” Additionally, A PDF-formatted cut-out mobile phone dubbed “The Instigator” is meant to be a parental conversation starter.

Perhaps most interesting is the downloadable “PressurePoint Presentation,” which comes in several formats including Microsoft’s PowerPoint. The presentation offers boardroom style bullet points intended to educate parents on the finer points of Pay As You Go. Titled “The Void Between My Hand and Ear,” the slide presentation offers a series of arguments, analogies and straight up begging.

A print campaign in several teen titles includes similar creative and draws attention to the Web site URL. Placements include Seventeen and Teen People.

Mother New York’s guiding principal in conceiving the site was that it should be not merely entertaining, but concretely applicable to the negotiations a child enters into with her parents.

“We run into communicating to youth quite often,” Malmstrom added. “You see a lot of games, and I think although there might be really cool things happening, a lot of it is just entertainment. What’s unique with this campaign is it is entertaining, but it’s more than just a game. You actually get something.”

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