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Does Nokia's big comeback campaign cut it?

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : October 18, 2017
A look at the two-film campaign created by Dentsu One.

Finnish handset maker Nokia, has made a big comeback into the Indian mobile phone market after a gap of two years with their TV ads - 'Mom's Bothie' and '#UniteForLove' for its newly launched smartphone the Nokia 8. The ads have been conceptualised by Dentsu One and directed by Amit Sharma of Chrome Pictures.

Titus Upputuru Titus Upputuru

Jyotsna Makkar Jyotsna Makkar

Since the brand has been away from the market for a couple of years, we asked Titus Upputuru, national creative director, Dentsu One, about the challenges he faced while making the comeback ads for Nokia. He says, "People have these certain kinds of intangible experiences which should go with the brand. We needed to be careful about not going out of that experience and connect with people who have that experience. At the same time, we also needed to connect with the people who do not have that experience, who have possibly parted with the mobile phones of other brands. We needed to connect with them keeping in mind the heart of Nokia's brand, which is to '#UniteFor', a global tagline."

Talking about the marketing strategy for Nokia, Jyotsna Makkar, head of marketing, HMD Global, India, says, "Our Brand metrics are very healthy across the funnel - high consideration, very strong residual loyalty and strong brand trust. Our focus, therefore, is not on building salience, but in fact, on engaging with our consumers and fans. We will plan our marketing spends to be relevant to consumers who seek us, who will identify with our brand and our philosophy."

We asked Makkar to what extent is HMD India riding on Nokia's 'residual equity' in the market while making this 'comeback'? She says, "HMD's ambition is to set a new standard in design, material quality and manufacturing innovation across every tier of product by continuing to build on all the hallmarks of a true Nokia phone experience - reliability, quality and usability. Our goal is to take the brand to a new generation of mobile users."

Early this year, when Nokia announced its comeback with the launch of Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6, we asked our experts the following questions in a POV story:

How will Nokia 'connect to people' again? Should Nokia go out guns blazing with a hot young brand ambassador? Or should it make good on past laurels and piggyback on its residual equity, as experts call it? What is Nokia's most prized weapon in its arsenal - advertising, distribution or old glory?

The experts had said that despite the brand having a great amount of residual goodwill in India, it is going to be a challenge for Nokia since it is coming back to a cluttered market in which competitors like Vivo, Oppo and Gionee are very aggressive with their marketing strategy and present as sponsors in most major events and TV shows. The experts had also said that Nokia can no longer sell only on the basis of the brand name. It will have to be a combination of the brand name, good design, physical trials, and experience; fancy advertising will do them no good.

We asked our experts if the idea and execution of the campaign for the Nokia 8 are good enough for it to make a strong impact in the minds of the consumers, keeping in mind the competition and their strategies.

Viren Razdan, managing director, Brand-nomics, a brand consultancy, says, "It might be unfair to compare any of Nokia's comeback attempts to the iconic stature the brand had over a decade and a half ago. The game changed for everybody, the Nokia brand (and company), the category, the dynamic ecosystem which surrounds the device now and of course, the generation. All in support of Nokia, till now, however, this piece of communication gives away the age of the brand, a bit from the past and reminiscent of countless such warm occasions we've seen brands seem to plant themselves in. Timid and tepid."

Viren Razdan Viren Razdan

Pramod Sharma Pramod Sharma

He adds, "Not being part of the high decibel, high energy brat pack, which almost all other brand seem to have chosen, is a sound step, but it would be a hard high-ground to take and be refreshingly relevant, which to my mind, the TV campaign is not. 'Bothie' sounds like a fun concept, but got buried in woolly thinking."

Talking about the marketing strategy Nokia should approach, Razdan says, "A lot depends on the various elements of the mix and Nokia's plan on targeting specific segments. But from an overall point of view, the reality will be more and more feature loaded Android mobiles with massive firepower and visibility which seem to be a plenty. Brand Nokia rises above them all, only because of its blue-blooded lineage. Somewhere, that badge needs to be rejuvenated and refreshed; currently, I'm a bit underwhelmed."

Pramod Sharma, executive creative director (West), Rediffusion-Y&R, says, "Everyone is leveraging Diwali with the same ideas, same execution, same family drama. While it is 'the thing' to do, Nokia could have approached it a bit differently. Vivo/Oppo/Gionee, all communications looks the same."

Client: HMD India
Creative Agency: Dentsu One
Branch Head: Harjot Narang
National Creative Director: Titus Upputuru
Creative Team: Titus Upputuru Neharika Awal, Rajesh Minocha, Soumyajit Roy, Archana Sudarshan, Sumanyu Singhal, Nandini Pathania, Dipani Neb
Account Management: Sakshi Singh, Kaustubh Gupta
Planning Head: Narayan Devanathan
Films: Dawa Lama, Suprotim Day
Director (of the film): Amit Sharma
Producer: Poonam Wahi
Production House: Chrome Pictures
Music: Abhishek Arora
Cinematography: Laxman Utekar

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First Published : October 18, 2017


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