Have you ever heard a dessert place advertising and telling you not to eat too much sugar this Christmas and lose those calories? Or have you heard a car company advertising not to drive a car this Christmas and take a walk for Christmas dinner? Well, all this may not be very common, but there is a company which is actually telling users to put its own products aside this Christmas. And it is none other than Nokia. Nokia has recently made a comeback in the smartphone world, and the company in its latest ad is already telling people to stay off the phone this Christmas. Good idea? Well, let’s take a look.
Near and dear, but still apart
Titled, “Be the gift” the ad is a one-minute-and-thirty-second story of a grandmother and her grandson, who are living away from each other. The ad starts with the grandmother keeping her smartphone back in her pocket and walking into her house. It cuts, takes us to a class which is where her grandson is, establishing that he is studying in college. While these two are apart, they try to keep in touch with video calling and messaging each other. They celebrate birthdays and share their daily lives by texting and video calling, and while both normally go about their daily lives every day, they keep in touch using their phones for video calls and messaging. They share pictures and try to be there for each other as much as possible – virtually. Then comes Christmas, and the old lady is shown sitting by her phone waiting to hear from her grandson. She keeps looking at her phone, lonely and disappointed. Then she hears someone walking up the stairs. She opens the door and finds her grandson running up the stairs. The two hug each other and spend Christmas together. Then text appears on the screen with the phones of the duo in focus and the grandmother and grandmother in a blurry background, “Switch off this Christmas. Give the gift of you.” The grandson and grandma then again come back in focus, talking and laughing. Finally, the logo of Nokia appears on the screen with the signature Nokia tune. Frey’s Ridings’ song, “Lost without you” is used in the background.
Nice? Yes. But where is Nokia?
The ad has a great storyline where a grandmother and her grandson are both keeping in touch with each other using smartphones even when they are miles apart and when the holiday season arrives, the grandson comes over to spend it with his grandma. The ad has no dialogues and only focuses on visual representations and the background music to get the message across. The idea behind the ad is not to hard sell the product but is more like an emotional appeal where the company is just trying to be remembered.
This is not the first time; we are seeing such an ad from Nokia since its comeback. Nokia also did a similar ad in India on the festival of Diwali called, “Give the gift of you”, which was based on the same lines. The ad is pretty much a small movie with very little Nokia branding. There are times when the smartphones are in the frame but there is hardly any branding from the company, and you will not know it is a Nokia ad until the very end.
We are all for targeting emotions and getting people close on festivals, but you can not create an ad and not give the brand enough light. Yes, the purpose of the ad is not to hard sell. There are no USPs highlighted, no features discussed and even the brand is not highlighted enough. All of which is very noble as is perhaps the whole sentiment of real human interaction being better than contact over phones (although the two did not really seem too unhappy talking on phones – they just wanted to stay in touch). Still, at the end of the day, the purpose of the ad is to sell the product and/or build the brand. It is not to put a small movie out there which serves no purpose other than entertaining the audience for a small period without giving any brand-related message. Nokia has put out a short, emotional video which is touching, but does not touch (pun intended) its own products. It does not motivate one to think about the brand or its products.
Nice gift, but a tricky message
Pekka Rantala, the Chief Marketing Officer of Nokia, on the launch of the ad said, “As well as demonstrating how powerful our phones can be at keeping us united with our loved ones, we’re bravely declaring that nothing, not even our own products, can beat actually being together.” And this pretty much sums the idea behind the ad. The ad is emotional, heartwarming and justifies Nokia’s famous tagline, “connecting people,” but the ad does little in terms of giving information about the product. Yes, we agree is not the purpose of the ad. But does it help Nokia in any way to come back to the market or to sell its smartphones – the thing Nokia needs the most to survive right now in the industry? In fact, the company is telling us to switch them devices off. The idea might sound noble but then why it restrict just to Christmas?
We like the ad.
We love the sentiment.
But we are not sure how it helps Nokia.