Finnish Nokia phones pays to star in Hollywood blockbuster

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Helsinki - Nokia Mobile Phones (NMP), the world's second biggest mobile phone company, has paid U.S. film studios Paramount a fee of less than $1m to have the company's range of top-of-the-line cellular equipment featured in the new movie blockbuster "Mission:Impossible".

Nokia confirmed that Paramount agreed to alterations in the film's script which were devised to emphasize the Nokia brand name, including several key lines involving lead star Tom Cruise. In one scene Cruise is seen holding a Nokia phone and asking a co-star to explain all of its various functions. CEO Jorma Ollila described the deal as "innovative" and "worth every cent we paid".

Introductions between Paramount and NMP were made by Ollila's good friend Rene Harlin, the Hollywood director.

However, Alison Brolls, head of marketing for NMP in the U.K., says that Paramount was the one to make the approach for scenes set in England. And she denies that any money changed hands. "We never pay for any product placement that we do," she says. The marketing technique helps production companies with the cost of props and brings the advertiser "obvious benefits in having our brand associated with top films."

The tactic has been regularly used by NMP in the U.K. Its 9000 Communicator - a phone/fax/Internet connection palm-top computer - which launches worldwide on August 15 is to feature in the movie "The Saint", currently being shot.

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