NEW YORK — With the heart of the back-to-school season approaching, Simon Property Group wants teens off the beach and back into the malls. The nation’s largest shopping center developer launches a massive teen marketing program Friday in Atlanta’s Mall of Georgia, which travels to Atlanta’s Gwinnett Place the next day and then 23 other Simon malls cross-country through Oct. 26.

The program, called Simon DTour Live, will integrate special events, entertainment and contests sponsored by Sprite, Nestle, Mentos, Clearasil, Delia’s, Cool Water by Davidoff and Strength magazine. Retailers participating include Aeropostale, Wet Seal, Gadzooks, Finish Line, Rave, PacSun, Claire’s Boutique, Foot Locker and Steve Madden, among others.

According to Stewart Stockdale, chief marketing officer of Simon Property Group and president of Simon Brand Ventures, of the 100 million shoppers who make approximately 2 billion visits to Simon malls each year, 400 million are teens who on average shop a Simon mall 4.4 times per month. Simon’s teen shoppers spend an average of $50 on each trip to the mall.

Among the Sprite-sponsored events are free concerts by Elektra Records recording artist Lil’ Mo and platinum-selling girl group 3LW (3 Little Women), and a DJ mixing station where teens can “scratch” their own music mix with the help ofmixologist DJ “Shortee.” There will also be competitions for high school students in music, fashion, sports, trivia and video games, with scholarships and prizes offered. Delia’s, recently purchased by Alloy, will have henna tattoo artists.

Simon Brand Ventures, founded in 1997, is a strategy for building partnerships with brands that sell in the malls, including Coca-Cola, Cingular Wireless, Reebok and VISA U.S.A., to stage events and build customer loyalty. Simon, a real estate investment trust, owns or has interests in 238 properties.

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