O2's Facebook initiative attracts 63,000 students in 11 days

LONDON - An O2-branded Facebook group has attracted more than 63,000 members, making it one of the most successful UK communities to appear on the social networking site.

The mobile network operator made its first foray onto Facebook just 11 days ago with the launch of a sponsored group dedicated to ‘The Battle for the UK's Favourite University'.

The o2 Facebook group encourages students to generate 'noise' on behalf of their university by uploading photos and comments. The university with the most Facebook activity at the end of a 30-day period will win a £50,000 o2-branded on-campus party.

In the 11 days since its launch, the o2 branded group has attracted 63,987 members. These members have taken part in 343 online discussions, posted 11,053 messages and uploaded 70 video clips to the Facebook page.

The o2 group, created by Agency Republic, is already more popular than H&M's branded community, which has 22,665 members, while rival Virgin Mobile has attracted just 1,036 internet users to its sponsored page.

o2's Facebook group is part of a wider marketing campaign in support of its Favourite Place tariff, which offers 500 minutes of free calls to UK landlines and o2 mobiles from registered postcodes. The tariff is being aimed at students, allowing them to register their halls of residence address and take advantage of free calls to home.

Earlier this month Facebook kick-started its UK expansion strategy with the appointment of Yahoo! commercial director Blake Chandlee as UK head of sales and its first employee outside the US.

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