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Animal Planet Takes Meerkat Manor Mobile

Animal Planet will add mobile messaging to the mix for the first time as part of an ad blitz for its Emmy Award-nominated series, Meerkat Manor.

The network is also sending promotional DVDs to "influencer moms" who participate in social-networking sites, and the meerkats themselves promote the series themselves with MySpace and Facebook pages that activated Wednesday.

The mobile component allows Verizon Wireless users to download Meerkat vocalizations as ring tones. Those consumers also are sent tune-in messages on their phones, and they can get free wallpaper featuring images from the series.

The main campaign, appearing in national publications beginning Aug. 3, is dubbed "Words," and it will appear in People, Entertainment Weekly, In Touch Weekly, US Weekly and other publications. An ad that features the animals but spoofs The Sopranos appears in EW and in transit ads in Manhattan beginning Aug. 10.