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Virgin Mobile unveils push to young urban music fans

LONDON - Virgin Mobile has enlisted the help of UK garage outfit the Pay As U Go Cartel for a print and radio ad drive targeting 16- to 24-year-old urban music fans to encourage them to use its 3p text service between Virgin users.

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Virgin hopes that in driving sales of mobiles among the young, it will create the UK's biggest "texting posse". The activity has been called the "PPPosse" campaign, to highlight the 3p each text costs to send to another Virgin user in the UK.

James Kydd, Virgin Mobile's brand director, said: "What better band could there possibly be to front our campaign than the Pay As U Go Cartel? It was a huge coup to get them to work with us and we are very excited to welcome them as members of the Virgin Mobile PPPosse."

The ads, through Virgin's below-the-line agency B'lowfish, will run across Rinse FM, Delight, Silk City, Lost and Diamond radio stations, where acts such as Ms Dynamite and So Solid Crew were first aired.

They invite listeners to visit a Virgin Megastore and buy a Virgin Mobile phone or SIM pack and join the posse, or just pick up a free PPPosse CD, which includes the exclusive PAUGC track 'Do You Wanna Get', plus a sample of their forthcoming album, a free PAUGC ringtone and logo.

The stations will also run SMS competitions and promotions for limited edition PAUGC £10 airtime vouchers and a holiday for four to Aiya Napa or Faliraki.

Ads will run in key UK garage magazines including Hip Hop Connection, RWD, Grand Slam, Knowledge, Deuce and Touch. Touch magazine will carry the Virgin Mobile PPPosse CD sampler as a covermount on its June issue.

PPPosse fliers will be distributed to every major hip-hop, R&B and UK garage club and record store in the UK.

B'lowfish picked up the £6m Virgin mobile below-the-line brief in February from Liquid Communications without a pitch.

In a separate announcement, Virgin Mobile has announced it is to provide mobile-based promotions for entertainment venues operated by the McKenzie Group.

The mobile phone operator will provide text-based information about forthcoming bands, aftershow parties, news and gossip for six venues including Carling Academy Brixton, Shepherds Bush Empire and the Carling Academy Liverpool.

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