Image-Conscious Finns

Nokia has added a television image component to its multi-pronged marketing approach, which has included a number of mass entertainment tie-ins, sponsorship of the Sugar Bowl football game, ethnic outreach initiatives, distinctive fashion positioning and a host of other integrated promotional programs.
The company’s first multinational TV image effort, launching in the U.S., Canada and Latin America on Nov. 16, seeks to relate the brand’s attributes to individual user lifestyles.
The first 30-second television spot was produced at Peak/Biety in Tampa, Fla., the Finnish wireless telecom’s agency of record for Latin America. The work is intended to create a consistent image statement for Nokia Americas, showing people representing different demographic segments and the way in which Nokia telephones adapt to their lives.
The spot will be slipped into product advertising rotations currently running in each of the geographic regions by The Richards Group in Dallas for the American market; TBWA/Chiat/Day of Toronto and New York for Canada; and Peak/Biety for Latin America.
“We wanted to create a balance between product, people and lifestyle,” said Matt Wisk, consumer marketing chief for the company. “We are becoming a global brand, and so we are starting, for the first time, to manage the brand in a truly global sense.”
The initial television commercial, which relates closely to the client’s “Connecting people” tagline and “Nokia discovery” theme, shows a ranch hand, children, a blind woman and an expectant mother in their own environments. A voiceover intones, “For every hand there’s a Nokia.”
“We’re showing the different people behind those hands, and how the Nokia phone adapts to your life,” said Maria Thompson, account supervisor at Peak/Biety.
The spot, bound for both network and cable TV exposure in the U.S., will not feature any one product attribute. Instead, the commercial emphasizes how Nokia’s products and people’s hands fit together, i.e., how the company designs its phones with consumers in mind.
Wisk declined to disclose the global budget for the new television advertising campaign. Referring to fourth-quarter advertising, marketing and promotional spending, however, he did say:
“We are prepared to spend the single largest amount in a 90-day period ever–that represents an almost two-fold increase of what we have spent year-to-date.”
Nokia’s total estimated marketing spending for 1998 amounted to $20-25 million as it ramped up a diverse slate of promotional relationships, sponsorships and advertising campaigns [Brandweek, Jan. 19, 1998]. Media expenditures for 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting, were $15 million; $7.7 million for January through July of this year.
Nokia has steadily moved up to the No. 1 marketshare rank in the U.S. over the last few months, pulling ahead of its main competitors, Motorola and Ericsson.
The company is close to signing a four-year deal with the Sugar Bowl and ABC. Nokia has sponsored the game for the past several years.
While it is looking to build on this year’s promotional successes, in 1999 Nokia plans to focus on repeat purchasers and defining market segments rather than gaining mass volume. The company said it will do fewer movie tie-ins–perhaps a total of two–which will be related to specific product introductions. This year Nokia did cross-promotions with Armageddon and The X-Files.
Wisk said Nokia probably will not make a hefty investment in a 1999 Super Bowl television spot. The company is also re-evaluating its country music relationship with George Strait, intensifying its ethnic marketing and trial-sponsoring forthcoming concerts by contemporary Latino star Alejandro Fernandez in Houston and El Paso, Texas.