Making Science

Coca-Cola Unveils the Sprite Yard

David Murphy

The Coca-Cola Company has announced the launch of the Sprite Yard, a real-time digital on-the-go community that provides social connections and downloadable content via consumers mobile phones, anytime, anywhere. The Sprite Yard launched in China on 1 June and will go live in the US later this month.
The Sprite Yard creates an entertaining social experience beyond the value of traditional online destinations by providing consumers with constant mobile, social and brand connectivity through mobile devices such as phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs).   
Accessing the Sprite Yard is easy and simple. Anyone with a WAP-enabled phone and access to a data plan can join the Yard. From 22 June, consumers in the US can text YARD to 59666 (Lymon) and receive a reply with a WAP link to access the Sprite Yard for the fist time. Clicking the link directs the mobile device to the Yard, where they are invited to register by selecting a tag name and password. As soon as they are registered, users can opt to create a profile to share information about themselves with their friends in the Yard.   
Sprite is the first beverage brand to enable a mobile experience combining such a rich combination of features and functions says Mark Greatrex, Senior Vice President, Marketing Communications and Insights, The Coca-Cola Company. The Sprite Yard provides an efficient, sustainable and fresh marketing platform that reflects changing consumer demands and significantly personalises the relationship between consumers and Sprite.
Members of the Yard have access to a host of functions they can share with their network of friends. Users build their community by inviting, and being invited by, other Yard users to be their friends. This allows them to share photos through the Pix gallery, showcase a snapshot of their activities in the Planner, post pictures and discussions on Scribbles, and send short mobile messages, known as Shouts, to individuals or groups.
The Sprite Yard will also feature exclusive downloadable content, including visitones (visual ringtones that combine music with visuals), and mobisodes (animated shorts), that can only be unlocked through a PIN found under the cap of every 20oz. bottle of Sprite.
Coca-Cola points out that with an estimated 2.7 billion mobile phones in the world, three times higher than the number of computers and twice as high as the number of televisions, there is an opportunity to combine brands and technology to connect with consumers in unique and personalised ways.
We know that when it comes to reaching teens, mobile is the medium says Denis Sison, Sprite Global Brand Director at The Coca-Cola Company. This program will enable us to connect with teens by putting Sprite both in their hand and in their phone. We can provide them instant gratification  through ever-changing content and the ability to immediately receive new information and entertainment.
The offering in China is similar to that in the US, offering compelling content, community, instant messaging and mobile blogging. The program was tested through a partnership with McDonalds, where consumers received PIN codes at the restaurants with purchases. By the end of 2008, the Sprite Yard will be introduced in several additional markets globally.