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Take my picture -- and buy my phone?

'Reach out and touch the consumer advertising'

August 2, 2002 Posted: 9:36 AM EDT (1336 GMT)

An add-on camera allows users to take digital pictures on the Sony Ericsson T68i.  

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LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Next time a good-looking young couple asks you to take their picture, beware -- they might work for the maker of the camera.

Cell phone maker Sony Ericsson has hired 120 actors and actresses across the country to play tourists and ask passers-by to take their picture with the company's new T68i cell phone and an add-on digital camera.

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, a joint venture of Sony Corp. and Ericsson, is running the campaign in seven United States cities as part of what one executive called "reach out and touch the consumer advertising."

"It's not a sales pitch," Jon Maron, director of marketing communications for Sony Ericsson, told Reuters.

He said the company went to talent agencies looking for young, attractive people who were interested in technology and willing to have their pictures taken all day long.

"They're not just actors and actresses. They're the young, cool people in the areas where they live," Maron said.

Maron, who referred to the phones as "mobile multimedia devices," said the actors are visiting places like malls and nightclubs, tourist hubs where it would not seem unusual for a young couple to want their picture taken.

Cell-phone cameras, either built into the phone or attached externally, have grown in popularity in Asia and Europe over the last year, where phones with color screens and high-speed Internet connections are more prevalent then in the United States.

Maron said the actors, if pressed for information on what the phone/camera is or where to buy it, would tell the inquiring photographer where it can be found or who makes it and won't make any secret of the fact they work for the company, if asked.

Copyright 2002 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistribut

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