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Fanta: Talking So Only Teens Can Hear

fanta_can2.gifThe Coca Cola Company has long been committed to experimenting with new approaches for building engagement with their consumers.

Recently, one of Coke’s major soft drink brands, Fanta, teamed up with Ogilvy Advertising to bring out a mobile application for teens using a new technology that (as far as we know) has never before been used for mobile marketing.

The Fanta Stealth Sound System brings teens together by letting them talk in secret, without adults even knowing that they are communicating.

The brand message

A key brand message for Fanta is playful imagination, and teens are a very key market segment. Given that mobiles are vitally important to teens and they use them all the time for communicating with their friends, Fanta decided to support this with a mobile application that would give them a secret way to communicate and play.


Scott Seaborn, Head of Mobile Technologies for Ogilvy Group UK commented, “Mobile advertising is all about using the unique elements of the wireless device as opposed to borrowing inventory from previous media channels. Mobile phones are communication tools. This fact was not forgotten in our creative work for Fanta on mobile.”

An Innovative Technology

fanta_warning.gifThe campaign is based around the fact that as people get older, they lose the ability to hear very high pitched sounds. These high frequency ranges can be heard by teens, but not by adults.

Previously, this technology had been used for a very non-fun purpose: to prevent teens from gathering in public places. This was done by playing loud, abrasive high pitched sounds that only teens could hear so they would leave.

The Campaign

fanta_image_thumb.jpgThe Fanta campaign turned this technology completely around, using it to allow teens to communicate without adults listening in.

The Fanta Stealth Sound System is a mobile app that plays a series of sounds that only teens can hear. They pick the sound out of a pre-set menu that all have pre-defined meanings. This way teens can communicate without anyone else hearing.

And because it is an application, it has very quick response and teens can use it continually without worrying about data charges.

Here is short video about the campaign which describes how it works.

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="320" height="265" wmode="transparent" /]

Amsterdam-based company XS2TheWorld was Ogilvy’s technical partner on this project. Sander Munsterman, CEO, talked about the development effort, “The most important thing was the app had to look Flashy and had to work on the broadest range of handsets. The development process went very smooth as Ogilvy provided us with all the right material.”

Sander continued, “We love working on new technologies and the Fanta app is a good example. This app was created in two weeks and we’re very proud of the result.”


Distribution is a key facet of any campaign involving mobile applications. The Stealth Sound System was distributed free of charge from the Fanta mobile site at, a site which also hosts games, ringtones, etc.

And of course, Coke has a massive distribution system they can use to publicize campaigns and generate buzz among their customers. In this case, Fanta put the URL for the mobile site on 60 million cans in the UK.

Ogilvy seeded the application on the internet, and produced a humorous video about the application to be forwarded to help the campaign spread virally (this is included in the video above).

In the past month alone there have been over 320,000 downloads. Prinz Pinakatt, Group Interactive Marketing Manager at Coca-Cola Europe said, “We felt this was a perfect way of engaging with our core target group of teenages in a way we hadn’t done before. It helped us to become part of a community – the community is teenagers. It’s brilliant.”

Note: this campaign has been selected to be on the short-list for the Meffy Awards 2009 in the category Best Mobile Ad Campaign.


10.06.2009    Tags: , ,
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