With a special nod to the (at least for me) infamous “Grant Hill drinks Sprite” commercial, Sprite has done some pretty cool marketing campaigns around the NBA. With this weekend marking one of the NBA’s biggest events, All-Star Weekend, I was excited to see a mobile campaign from Sprite. Let’s break it down.

Call to Action Placement

I caught the call to action (aka “CTA”) from Sprite within my Facebook feed: “Text ASW to 777483 (Sprite) to be in the know for All-Star Weekend. Msg&DataRatesMayApply.”

I’m a “fan” of Sprite on Facebook, and would not have seen the CTA had I not already been a Sprite fan (I checked via another Facebook account to make sure). Thus it seems that Sprite targeted this promotion at current Sprite drinkers. I found this interesting given that NBA All-Star Weekend probably is a good time to attract new customers, especially considering people’s interest in the NBA and Sprite’s product promotion with NBA players (you can see OKC Thunder Center Serge Ibaka, for example, in the Facebook feed).

To get more insight into this assumption, I perused the aforementioned NBA All-Star weekend homepage. Given that this ASW CTA advertised alerts, I figured that it might turn up there too. After a quick perusal though, no sign of any Sprite mobile CTA. Not totally surprising given that the All-Star site is maintained by the NBA, but not optimal.

So I then clicked on a specific link to the “Sprite Slam Dunk Contest” from the All-Star homepage. As the Dunk Contest is a Sprite-branded event, I figured the mobile CTA might be listed there.

As you can see, however, there is no mention of the mobile CTA. Just information about Twitter and Facebook (which both were NBA related). Again, not optimal, but perhaps not shocking.

One final check to get a sense of Sprite’s promotional strategy was looking at the Sprite.com homepage and mobile site to see if the mobile CTA appeared in those places.

Strike 3 – no mention of the mobile call to action anywhere. Bottom line, Sprite missed an opportunity for clear cross-channel promotion in my opinion. By not promoting mobile across various media channels, success (due to not just potential eyes but also consumer faith in the promotion) will not be as pronounced.

(One more point: Sprite has a sweepstakes entry listed on its homepage. Why not use this as a way to drive more mobile sign ups? Sprite also lets you text in bottle cap numbers, but this was not mentioned on the homepage either – let’s move on).

Call to Action Message

Sprite’s basic incentive for their mobile promotion is to “be in the know for All-Star Weekend.” This is compelling for NBA fans, especially if Sprite is going to be communicating insider information or updates, and doesn’t require a monetary incentive. Nice job there. The keyword, ASW, is also strong. It will do well on the radio and on billboards (anybody seen any?) and has sufficient context to go along with the call to action. As far as compliance goes, they do a good job of inserting the message and data rates language, which you don’t see from every brand.

Call To Action Message Flow

You can see the full message flow (in two photos) on the right. What I like about the keyword response (first message from Sprite) is the collection of birthdate. Straight forward, small chance of user error and doesn’t seem overly personal for a first-time sign up. On the negative side, I didn’t think that the spacing between some of the phrases made a ton of sense. I checked the message and it’s only 151 characters long (text messages can be up to 160). Why the space cramming was done is unclear, as the message is slightly awkward to read. Even if you were at the 160 limit, why not cram the “Msg&Data Rates May Apply” line, as you already did this in the CTA and it wouldn’t upset the consumer’s reading flow.

As for the follow-up messages, again some bad and good aspects. For the first follow-up, I thought that the welcome message was a little odd in that it didn’t spell out what “the prgm” was actually referencing. Is it the ASW prgrm? Is it a mobile club? Again, with 15 more characters to use (this message was only 145), seems like a little more context might help consumers.

For the second follow-up, I didn’t understand why it referenced “becoming a member.” It seems to me that “Welcome to the prgrm” (from immediately preceding message) already establishes that point. I think it would have been more useful to send information related to the All-Star game since this is what the CTA advertised. Similarly, the “Uncontainable Game Alerts” does not seem like it has anything to do with the keyword “ASW.” Why not make the keyword something like “Uncontainable” if you are going to drive traffic to this online game? With a keyword “ASW”, there should be something in the message flow related to All-Star weekend (or even ASW Uncontainable Game).

On the positive side, both follow-up messages arrived immediately upon opt-in. This is crucially important for engaging consumers. Having the messages arrive long after takes away significantly from potential consumer interest.


To be honest, I was expecting/looking for a lot more. Hopefully I’ll get some cool updates over the weekend related to the All-Star game to make up for (what was to me) a subpar initial impression.

  • KaneRussell

    Update: I didn’t receive any other updates from this Sprite campaign : ( 

    Also- I voted in the NBA rookie game via text message, but didn’t receive notification of the winner, which I would have liked. I understand however, that many people are watching the game and don’t need notification, but I was at gym watching the 2nd/3rd quarters and then had a meeting to head off to and couldn’t see the end. 

  • KaneRussell

    Here’s an analysis of the same campaign from another website: http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/strategy/12265.html

    You be the judge : )