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Verizon, Puddle of Mudd Make a Splash

Verizon Wireless is taking tour sponsorship into the digital world in partnership with rock band Puddle of Mudd.

The idea is to entice the band’s fans to use new technology through a package of competitions, promotions and advertising, all leading up to the Nov. 25 release of its sophomore album, “Life on Display.” The band’s 2001 Interscope Records debut, “Come Clean,” has sold more than 5 million copies and won four Billboard Music Awards.

One part of the resultant multimedia package is an online remix tool. Fans can use the simple interface to modify, play and save their own mix of the band’s new single, “Away From Me,” and e-mail them to friends.

“We’re continually trying to figure out additional ways to create more impressions by creating familiarity,” said Peter Ketsis, who represents Puddle of Mudd on behalf of management company the Firm. “MTV doesn’t play rock videos enough – compared to pop and hip-hop – and the ability to reach a wider audience through multiple-format airplay isn’t there, either.”

The remixer encourages multiple plays as users refine their creation. It’s also the basis of a competition that turns the fans’ winning remix into the official “Verizon Wireless Puddle of Mudd” ring tone available to Verizon Wireless customers via the company’s Get It Now service.

Before that Nov. 21 finale, however, Verizon Wireless subscribers who register at http://www.lifeondisplay.com will receive band news and other text-message updates throughout the five-city tour, which started Thursday. Other competition winners will be provided with camera phones and a personal meeting with the band, with many of the photos posted to the official tour Web site and used in a “digital mosaic” displayed at each venue. From Verizon’s perspective, it’s a targeted way to reach the coveted young-adult demographic, said Gregg Yacovone, Verizon Wireless director of marketing for the West area. The campaign also serves as a way to differentiate the brand now that market penetration is reaching a critical mass.

“In this modern day and age, with labels not having the funds to support cool ideas to help launch records as much as they used to, inevitably this creates a shortfall,” Ketsis said. “Sponsors that can help create more visibility and awareness for the band’s upcoming release and still be credible enough for the group are the main concerns.”

Other Puddle of Mudd ring tones and mobile phone personalization products already are available on Get It Now through a deal with Modtones. They cost $1.99 each, with quantity discounts handled via a prepurchase credit system.

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