NEW YORK Nokia hopes to tout the features of its new N82 multimedia device not so much by telling consumers about them but showing them in action.
To do so, Nokia media shop Mediacom struck deals with several news outlets for reporters to use the N82 to tell stories. CNN, Wallpaper, Lonely Planet and National Geographic are all participating by putting the N82 in the hands of staffers.
On CNN.com’s “In the Field” blog section of dispatches from its international correspondents, Nokia is running a widget showing photos snapped by London-based anchor Richard Quest plotted on a Google map. The widget can be downloaded to users’ social network or personal Web page.
National Geographic has given the N82 to an archaeologist in Egypt and biochemist in Madagascar. Lonely Planet is arming five of its travel writers with the device.
“It wasn’t about us putting our brand logo everywhere,” said Arto Joensuu, global e-marketing director at Nokia. “It was thinking how can we enrich people visits to CNN.com.”
The effort is the next phase of a campaign launched early this year via Nokia digital agency R/GA. To kick off the “Urbanista Diaries” effort, another Nokia agency, 1000heads recruited four bloggers to travel different parts of the world and document their experiences with the N82, which has a camera that can wirelessly upload high-quality pictures online and uses satellite positioning to plot locations.
Nokia paid the bloggers’ expenses, but some gave their unvarnished opinions. Jay Montano, writer of the MyNokia blog, who uploaded photos to the “sports tracker,” gave this description of his experience: “If you were to pull out a strand of hair per each unit minute of frustration from sports tracker and uploading to the Web, in a two-week usage, you’d have taken out enough hair to replace all the blades of grass at a football pitch.”
At an R/GA-created microsite, users can follow the progress of the four bloggers on their trips, which began in New York, ended in London and covered 24 cities on three continents. The bloggers also wrote about their experiences on their personal sites.
The notion of putting the product in the hands of both bloggers and journalists rose from the N82’s unique characteristics, said Anthony Wickham, group account at R/GA in London. While a phone, the N82’s five-megapixel camera and GPS capabilities make it more of a mini-computer, he said.
“Rather than talking about the product and telling people what it can do, the idea was to create something that actually shows it in action,” he said.
Joensuu said the N82 launch is significant for Nokia because it is the first product the company has debuted online. Rather than have an unveiling at a major trade show for a select group of journalists, Nokia introduced the N82 on the Web, opening up the proceedings to reporters, bloggers and regular consumers. It hopes to continue the digital marketing initiative as a long-term effort rather than as a onetime campaign, he said.
“We go from peaks and valleys of bombarding messages to having a continuous dialogue by building bridges between campaigns,” Joensuu said.