"We are a major player, but the whole concept of consumer advertising [of cellular phones] is still in its early stages," said Jack Hopkins, director of marketing for Largo, Fla.-based Nokia Mobile Phones. "We want to break through. We wouldn't mind being the Nike of telecommunications."
Nokia will spend $10 million on media advertising this year including its first network TV spots. It has signed on as title sponsor of the Sugar Bowl starting next year and will also do print and cable TV.
Nokia's U.S. ads from Peak, Barr, Petralia, Biety, Tampa, Fla., use the company's worldwide "Connecting people" theme with the U.S. spots also playing up specific phone features including one-touch dialing.
Mr. Hopkins said Nokia's move to consumer advertising and network TV from last year's smaller advertising on cable reflects the feeling that Nokia has to be better known when consumers go to buy phones.
"Our research shows that 60% to 70% of people who are buying cellular phones don't know what brand they will buy when they go to the store," he said.
The heightened visibility also comes as the competition for cellular phone sales brings some new rivals. Sony Electronics Corp. recently announced plans to start selling cellular phones.