Virgin Mobile Spurs Hispanics to Leave ‘Normal’ Behind

If being normal means signing a conventional wireless contract, Virgin Mobile USA is urging U.S. Hispanics to steer clear. This is the pay-as-you-go carrier’s first integrated campaign aimed at the fast-growing minority group.

Virgin’s Hispanic marketing agency, Miami-based La Comunidad, developed both online and offline creative for the Spanish-language effort.

The just-launched interactive aspect of the “No Soy Normal,” or “I’m Not Normal,” campaign consists of a video-driven Web site, at noseasnormal.com, which the company hopes will go viral. The site takes users through a series of scenarios in which they can choose the fate of the characters, by selecting whether to be normal or not be normal. If they choose to be out of the ordinary, they’re rewarded with some surreal, but humorous, outcomes.

“The overall campaign attempts to show people that it’s OK to be unconventional and it’s OK to be, in effect, not normal,” Bob Stohrer, VP of brand and communications at Virgin Mobile USA, told ClickZ News. “Normal, for us, at least the way we look at normal, is that normal equals contract plans. We’re asking people to rethink that a bit.”

In one “not normal” scenario on the site, a male character points at a small, yapping dog, and causes it to fly away and disappear, as if by magic. When the dog’s owner, an attractive woman, comes looking for the canine, he offers to help her look for it and they end up going for a drink. Choosing to be normal ends the storyline’s progression and sends the main character back to his desk in a windowless office.

“The site itself is a fun, engaging way to take the campaign idea to a place that we couldn’t necessarily have done with television,” said Stohrer. “The Web site represented a way for us to take this idea of ‘Don’t Be Normal’ to the extreme and to get people contextually engaged in the campaign.”

Virgin Mobile USA’s business, based solely on pay-as-you-go plans, is targeted squarely at teens and those in their early 20s in the general market. In the Hispanic market, however, the company has found its offerings are attractive to people slightly older, as well.

“You’ve got a lot of big talkers out there, particularly in the Hispanic community, that don’t want to be tied up by a contract plan or give up a credit card,” said Stohrer. “We’re still cheeky, fun Virgin Mobile but the twist on the brand is a little bit different.”

For now, Virgin is spreading the word about the site solely through an email list of customers who’ve signed up to receive communications in Spanish. The company wouldn’t say how many people had received notification about the site launch, nor would it say how much traffic noseasnormal.com has received since its launch last week.

“For the time being, we’re letting people discover it and basically hook other people up to the site,” Stohrer said, explaining that existing customers are rewarded for signing up friends. “We think that’s a fun, more effective way to launch, plus it gives us a chance to make tweaks.” Stohrer added that the company plans to add the site URL to its television spots later this year, and DJs on radio stations in some markets will tout the URL.

Other offline elements of the campaign include radio and television ads in spot markets and on cable channels like MTV Espanol, Mas Musica and VH Uno. Promotional activity will also take place at retail locations.

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