Nokia Turns to DDB for Image Push

DALLAS Nokia has tapped DDB to create an image campaign on a project basis, sources said, though the client insists The Richards Group remains its primary agency and declined to confirm hiring DDB.

The cell phone manufacturer spent about $35 million on domestic ads last year, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Richards handles both creative and media chores.

Omnicom shop DDB was selected over sibling GSD&M in Austin, Texas, and Richards in Dallas following recent presentations for a campaign aimed to break close to the Nokia-sponsored 70th annual Sugar Bowl football game on Jan. 4, sources said.

The Chicago and Dallas offices of DDB ultimately won that contest and are now preparing to go into production on the campaign, though it is now uncertain if the work will run as originally scheduled or break in the spring, sources said.

Richards, which has handled the account since 1997, is still the lead agency for Nokia, according to client representative Denise Crew, “and will continue to be so until we make any other announcement.”

Though she declined to confirm DDB’s involvement with Nokia, she said, “As everyone knows we have a new vice president of marketing, Jo Harlow, which means our marketing organization is going through changes and in doing so we’re reviewing all of our options.”

Nokia began reaching out to other agencies this summer under its former vice president of marketing for the Americas region, Matt Wisk, who left to join Herbalife International as chief marketing officer in July. His replacement, Harlow, who joined Nokia in August from Reebok, ultimately signed off on the hiring of DDB, sources said.

Executives from DDB, Richards and GSD&M declined to comment.