Advertising a product without Advertising

Nokia was one of the first brands to produce cellular phones popular with the Generation Y crowd. Maybe we can credit Zack Morris for starting the cell phone craze amongst high school students back in the 90’s, but the fact remains that anyone in their late twenties and early thirties most likely had a good old-fashioned Nokia brick of a phone that made them the envy of their peers.

Developing a brand goes beyond creating a personality for the brand. Development extends to the consumer experience of the brand. Nokia as a brand has in the past has seized opportunities to capitalize on the needs of its consumer market by including a game console in the mobile device. Brain D. Till and Donna Heckler state that brand positioning lives in the mind of the target consumer. Consistent with this idea is the concept that a brand as a product or service must perform in conjunction with the message being transmitted.

Now that all big name cell phone manufacturers are put in the ring to compete against the iPhone for smart-phone market share, Nokia has taken on the challenge to present its products to the same demographic. But how does Nokia efficiently position its brand with consumers and demonstrate the desired experience behind its messaging?

Last year, Nokia UK launched its newest version of the windows-based Lumia smart-phone by capitalizing on the messaging behind Lumia. The name Lumia can safely be assumed to have come from the word luminous, relating to light. The brains behind Nokia reenacted a similar performance from the previous year that used a 4D projection on London’s Millbank Tower. They hired someone their target demographic would identify with to surprise London with a secret and intimate concert, which was one for the books. Nokia hired a larger than life DJ named Joel Zimmerman AKA Deadmau5. Deadmau5 is known for his artistic use of the latest computer technology to develop sets that often inspire his music on the fly.

The show in 2011 was just the start to the “This is Lumia” campaign and effectively coordinated messaging reflective of the brand and more importantly the product itself. The young UK population is known for loving fun, dance music and technology. This year Deadmau5 returned as an unofficial brand ambassador to light up London square. The campaign this year was called #switch, which encouraged the masses to switch to something different.

Nokia’s use of Deadmau5 to softly advertise for their product surely peaked the interest of those that attended the show, and the millions that tuned into the live stream of the events. This creative, albeit expensive, soft advertising technique brings up some great insight into advertising products. Experiential advertising is nothing new, but is becoming the norm in a digital age that is at your finger tips. People crave experiences to connect them to the product.

This campaign makes us think about the future of advertising. Maybe it isn’t always about stuffing your message into every piece of collateral you produce, but rather approaching all campaigns with fresh perspectives. Sometimes subtlety and innovation are better than shouting your message from the rooftop.