Whether you are a famous footballer or ordinary office worker, everyone loves being able to access their favourite lifestyle brands on the internet. But now 150 celebrities and influencers such as Richard E Grant and DJ Spoony are visiting sites such as ebay, Egg, Interflora, lastminute.com and Rightmove.co.uk on their O2     enabled i-mode mobile phones as part of an innovative influencer campaign run by The Lounge for O2.   O2 is the only operator in the UK to offer i-mode, a mobile internet service that lets you access your favourite internet brands on your mobile phone. The consumer launch in November 2005 was supported by a high profile advertising campaign as well as a star studded launch party. However, as the service was previously unknown to UK consumers, O2 has also chosen to pursue a less conventional marketing channel to create word of mouth and excitement around the i-mode service amongst key influencers.   O2 has commissioned The Lounge – an experiential agency which develops brand communications specifically geared towards the 18-30s market – to seed 150 i-mode phones with key cultural and social influencers from the cities of London, Brighton, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow. The Lounge picked key targets from their wide network of influencers, local entrepreneurs and celebrities – including Richard E Grant, DJ Spoony, and rapper Sway – to be the first to try out O2’s exclusive i-mode service which has already seen rave reviews – 80% of the influencers showed an immediate positive reaction.    James Layfield, managing director at The Lounge said: “This type of activity has proved to be very powerful for developing a real ground swell of interest in a new product, and letting people try the service out for themselves is key to generating interest in i-mode.  We offered an i-mode handset to each influencer and facilitated a quality customer i-mode experience for each of them.  We have developed an on-going relationship with the Influencers as we gain their feedback and impressions of the products and service. Word of mouth is after all the most powerful form of advertising!” Grahame Riddell, Head of Content Marketing for O2 UK added: “i-mode is a fantastic service that really does make your mobile phone the ultimate lifestyle tool – whether you want to check your bank balance on the street or get the details of flats sent directly to your phone as they go on the market. However, as this exclusive O2 service is completely new and offers such a breadth of content, the full impact cannot be communicated only through traditional advertising or marketing. By using The Lounge to implement our first seeding programme we have been able to get key opinion formers across the UK excited about i-mode and we look forward to evaluating the extent of their influence.”

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