Nov 09

Nokia scares up some interest

Latest contender for a chunk of iPhone’s share-of-mind: the Nokia N900 running Maemo software. (Don’t get me started on the naming.)

Nokia has created a video that’s dark and twisted enough that you feel slightly deranged for enjoying it. If you enjoy it, that is. I suspect the reactions will range from “hate it with a passion” to “greatest video ever.”

Personally, I like it. In that deranged kind of way. It’s unexpected, well-produced and fun. I went from bored to “huh?” to holy cow in the span of two minutes — then I went back for more. I love the moody hum, the quick cuts, the glitchy video, the casting/acting, the sheer shock of it, the gritty reality. Never did I imagine I’d see creative brilliance in a neck brace.

Love it or hate it, give Nokia credit for being fearless. We ad guys are forever whining that our clients won’t take a risk, and here’s a client who actually took one.

What’s most interesting to me is how the players have switched positions in this market. Apple, leading in presence if not market share, suddenly finds itself in the ubiquitous PC role — while the Nokias of the world get to play the feisty Apple-like challenger. In this upside-down world, Apple amuses us with mass-friendly, non-daring iPhone commercials, and the upstarts reach deep into the creative well trying to gain traction.

Does that mean Nokia’s creativity will make a dent in iPhone’s armor? Well … let’s not get carried away here. There are 100,000 reasons — the iPhone apps — why Apple will hold onto its lofty position.

Also, one teaser does not a campaign make. Searching the web, including Nokia’s site, I don’t see anything that syncs up with this concept. Who knows what the real marketing plan is. But I do think Nokia deserves kudos for getting creative and taking us to a new place. Even if this particular place is dark, dangerous and a bit disturbing…

Update 11:14am 11.18.09. Thanks to Cat for providing the following credits: Agency – Jack Morton Worldwide; Director – David Masters; Producer – Michael Richards; Original Concept – Matt McConaghy; DOP – Adam Hall; Editing House – Bravo Post Production; Editor – Brin; Post Production – The Mill; Post Production Producer – Luke Colson; CG Artists – Fabrice Le Nezet, Francois Roisin and Jules Janaud; Sound Production – Fitzrovia Post Production.

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  • i kept waiting (in vain) for the transformer to say “i am the walrus…”

  • Anton Narusberg

    yep.. you can certainly call it a piece of art. reminds me a little of Chris Cunninghams video making style

  • ken segall

    First time through I thought I did hear “I am the walrus,” which made me smile. But not so. A grievous omission!

  • Sorry, i totally disagree with you. That commercial doesn’t make me interested in the slightest, and it certainly isn’t going to sell any phones.

  • ken segall

    Told ya! I have no doubt that the vote will be split on this one. The only thing I’d point out is that the job of the “teaser” video isn’t really to sell phones — it’s to create some anticipation, some buzz, whatever, so that when the phone is launched, people will pay closer attention. I suspect that the real campaign isn’t going to be anything like this — which, in your opinion, would certainly be a step in the right direction :)

  • i actually agree with Anton & Scott… good video, weak spot

    i think it takes more than a good video to create buzz, there must be a compelling message generated to drive up consumer curiosity… this one had great FX, alright acting, good camera work, etc., but when it came to making me think about the phone, it didn’t deliver anything that made me think “hmmm, this might be cool to check out…”

    and while a teaser is not to sell, it’s to pique interest. i actually forgot that it was for a new phone. can’t imagine what i’ll be thinking when the phone actually hits the stores and i see one live… will i remember this spot and make the connection? because, as you observed, ken: the campaign (which we will see more often) will most likely not be close to this, thus widen ing the cognitive gap…

  • ShooShee

    I’m thick, I guess. I don’t even get it. Apparently they are only trying to appeal to people who already have a deep understanding of the market and the players and can interpret who is representing whom.

    I’m too old – ‘splain it to me, Lucy…

  • Barry

    I liked the production quality and it appealed to me personally. But the question is, who is the target? Apple clearly aims to get mainstream consumers to buy their iPhone whereas Nokia and Motorola are going after a seemingly specific audience.

    It’d be great if they released the creative brief with the video. Ok, I know that’s not going to happen but it would be interesting.

  • CB

    That video was pretty damn cool. Way out there in orginality!

  • This is a good unexpected commercial.. I personally think that it goes well will the transformer era that we are in… any how… fun to watch!!!


  • Ernie Brandon

    A big reason I have to disagree is that about six months ago I became aware of a year old ad campaign (that had obviously completely missed me) where they brought the great Bruce Lee back to life and had him showing off. Now those were GREAT videos. And the campaign was to showcase that they were doubling the price of an existing phone because they’d slapped a Bruce Lee decal on it. When I last checked that video amounted to digital socialism because they shared awesomeness with us and made absolutely nothing back for the effort. I think Nokia really misses the point in a big way. I also think they should name all their phones and campaigns “Bruce Lee” because that’s an awesome name that I have no trouble understanding or remembering.

  • Elizabeth Heir

    I wil be looking for Nokia brand spots now and comparing it to this “teaser.” It was fun! It spiked my interest in Nokia as a brand. I do not own an iPhone, I’m holding out for the next best thing thats a little different. Maybe I found it. Thanks for the creativity, hope it was fun producing.

  • Kenny Liebman

    I think the bigger issue here is Mr. Segall’s use of an emoticon in his reply to Scott. Are we going to act like it didn’t happen?

  • shhh… you’ll upset him… he worked so hard on incorporating that feature into the blog…


  • ken segall

    My god! Who put that thing in there?? Must have been that mischievous blog pixie. I just turned off that feature, but left my smilie in place as a warning to all.

  • richard

    I think Nokia will be beaming at this review. A risky but worthwhile departure from their general advertising.
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