Aug 30, 2009 at 03:03 PM
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Virgin Mobile and Kyocera Send a Message with FreeFest

For Virgin Mobile, which was acquired by Sprint Nextel earlier this year, reducing churn and preaching affordable pricing plans are key staples of the company's marketing strategy. So what better way to do that, with one of it's handset partners on board, then to launch a free music festival that rewards loyal customers with VIP benefits and exclusive experiences?

For four years the Virgin Mobile Festival has been one of the country’s premier summer music events. While the bands and venues have changed over the years, one thing that has not is Kyocera’s presence as the festival’s premier sponsor. Kyocera renewed its premier sponsorship for this year's event which kicks off today and includes Weezer, Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, Franz Ferdinand and Public Enemy headlining the fourth-annual Virgin Mobile Festival at Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. Looking to give music fans a break from today’s challenging economy, Virgin Mobile USA dubbed this year’s event "FreeFest” and made all tickets free. Richard Branson recently explained why.

Kyocera's sponsorship is multi-faceted, with extensive on-site presence at the festival complemented by nationwide programs aimed at empowering music-loving consumers. At the festival, Kyocera will provide a "Lucky Layoff Lounge” and a "Recharge Station,” while featuring extensive signage and interactive elements such as a large display to which attendees can send text messages. For fans across the country, Kyocera presented Virgin Mobile’s "Book the Band" competition, allowing fans to choose an opening act at FreeFest, and "Kyocera ALL Access,” in which 14 aspiring filmmakers were selected to capture the event for behind-the-scenes documentary that will air on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) in October.

Other partners participating in the event include Converse, IKEA, Sony Playstation, Bud Light, Dickies and Pappa John's Pizza among others. Kyocera’s activation of the partnership leading up to and at FreeFest include:

  • Kyocera Lucky Layoff Lounge: Every 10 minutes an attendee will be chosen to spin the "Wheel of Free!” for a chance at prizes including a free mobile phone with one year of service, Kyocera X-tc M2000 phones from Virgin Mobile, Ikea furnishings, Flying V guitars, backstage tours and more. Numerous other games include the Virgin Free Rock Quiz, where players will use Kyocera X-tc M2000 phones to answer questions and win prizes. A Kyocera Karma Kanister will be in the lounge for anyone who’d like to support Virgin Mobile’s The RE*Generation campaign to support homeless youth.

  • Kyocera Recharge: Kyocera’s Recharge Area gives festival-goers the chance to recharge their batteries. Attendees can plug in phones, cameras, or anything that needs juicing up and enjoy a rest in the Kyocera Recharge area - complete with on-site hammocks and teepees. They can also check in with family and friends with free phone calls from Kyocera, text their name for some predictions from Psychic Susan or and belt out tunes on the "Kyoke” karaoke stage.

  • Kyocera ALL Access Rock Documentary: Together with Dreaming Tree Films, Kyocera has chosen 14 young music fans to capture a comprehensive, behind-the-scenes look at the FreeFest that will be turned into a documentary. The documentary and the featurette will debut in October on the Independent Film Channel (IFC). They’ll go behind the scenes, interview their favorite bands and meet the fans in the audience. Winners also will use Kyocera X-tc M2000 cell phones to post up-to-the-second, behind-the-scenes photos on a real-time festival blog.

  • Book the Band: Kyocera and Virgin Mobile USA also let music fans pick an unknown act to appear at the festival via "Book the Band by Virgin Mobile.” Birthday Massacre bested four other bands by capturing more than 40 percent of the 700,000 votes cast via text message and online.

    "Our previous three festivals have been amazing successes and we’ve enjoyed tremendous support with Kyocera as our premier sponsor since the festival’s inception,” said Ron Faris, senior director of brand marketing and innovation at Virgin Mobile USA. "But this year looks to be even more impressive with Kyocera’s on-site presence and national programs.”