If new technology is truly about giving all sorts of people anywhere equal access to modern communications, then look no further than the European campaign of Nokia Mobile Phones, Helsinki.
Dominated by the gently humorous "Nokia Park" series of TV spots, the multimedia campaign has won over both consumers and business people, and helped make Nokia the largest mobile phone marketer in Europe and the second largest worldwide. In addition, brand awareness has leaped tenfold in several European markets.
Not bad for a brand name that didn't exist less than five years ago.
Although the marketer declined to disclose the campaign's budget figures or statistics demonstrating market-by-market brand awareness growth, Nokia insists the campaign is effective.
REACHING MANY TARGETS
"The brand image has proved to be very successful among different target groups, young and old, men and women, business and private customers," said Timo Suokko, planning director, international operations, SEK & Grey, Helsinki, in a document prepared by the agency for the EAAA's contest.
SEK & Grey's ads have, since 1993, focused on the Finnish mobile phone giant's main objectives:
nMake Nokia the leading mobile phone brand in every European market.
nAddress the needs of both business and consumer users.
nHelp make Nokia the standard for mobile phones worldwide.
The campaign also had to take into account that the mobile phone has a very short history. It wasn't until the early 1990s that a Europewide standard agreement was reached for the use of mobile and other cellular phone networks.
TWO BRANDS COMBINED
Nokia, already making inroads in a still uncertain business, at that time produced two brands called Mobira and Technophone, each with limited distribution in Europe. The company appointed SEK & Grey in 1991 to coordinate the brands into a single one called Nokia for the whole of Europe.
"From Nokia's viewpoint, we never really talk just about a single campaign. The building of the Nokia Mobile Phones brand is, and will be, a process which will continue in the future," Mr. Suokko said.
The campaign included markets where SEK & Grey isn't the lead agency and where Nokia works with local or international agencies. Germany and the U.K. were the prime targets, followed by France, Italy, Spain and then the rest of Europe. Targeted customers were in the 18-to-45 age group, ranging from business leaders and opinion-makers, as existing users, to Europe's youth, as future users.
The campaign emphasized that the Nokia mobile phone may be a trendy, snazzy, quality, high-tech product, yet it is easy to use and makes it easier for people on the move to keep in touch. "Inspired technology with a human touch" and "Connecting people" conveyed those messages.
FLEXIBLE FOR LOCAL USE
The strategy had to be flexible to ensure easy application at the local market level.
"Because of the multiplicity of growth stages that the various European countries are in, it is clear that the same material cannot be used in all countries," Mr. Suokko said. "Even so, most materials can successfully be adapted to suit the needs of each local market."
The same Nokia creative was used on TV and in print in different countries, only the voice-overs and text needed translation.
The choice of media also reflected the diversity in the targeted audience. Nokia was the first mobile phone manufacturer to use TV heavily, particularly pan-European business networks such as CNN International, BBC*World and European Business News.
The marketer also was the first of its kind to use MTV Europe to reach young viewers. The TV campaign, called "The Nokia Park," was designed to make viewers laugh at the unexpected uses for a mobile phone.
One commercial features a monk sitting on a park bench, Nokia has name value
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whose halo disappears as he lusts after a beautiful girl passing by. His mobile phone rings, he listens. Obviously being admonished by the caller for taking his mind off religious matters, the monk takes heed, switches off his phone and regains his halo. Nokia's message: Even God can make use of modern technology.
MUSIC ALL OVER
The accompanying theme music is also played in radio ads, in Nokia phones' ringing tones and at the company's reception desk.
European print ads in Time, Newsweek International, The European and International Herald Tribune, among others, are set around close-up shots of Nokia phones, yet emphasizing the human touch.
The campaign's message was reinforced through the Nokia Group's Internet home page; sponsorship of "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno;" and sponsorship of Finland's internationally famous rock band, the Leningrad Cowboys, among other ways.
To prove its success, Nokia points to the 1995 elimination of its original Mobira and Technophone brand names. Also brand awareness in Germany, where market share almost tripled, multiplied tenfold between 1993 and 1995. In the U.K., the increase was fourfold between 1993 and 1994. Nokia is now adopting the campaign for South Africa, Hong Kong and Australia.
The original European campaign will be adapted for other markets. The strategy will include featuring Nokia phones in Hollywood blockbuster movies.