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Saturday, December 22, 2007

SRK adds glamour to Nokia ad campaign

It's not normal practice for a brand which is a market leader by a distance to rope in a celebrity and that too for the first time since it entered the Indian market.

But that's exactly what Nokia has done by getting on board Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan for its latest brand campaign. The first campaign featuring the actor goes on air with a TV commercial from December 21.

Explains Devinder Kishore, director (marketing), Nokia: "As a brand we have always ranked high on facets such as reliability, authenticity and our image among the youth, something which Shahrukh too stands for."

Other handset majors such as Motorola and Sony Ericsson already have celebrities like Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan, respectively, sporting their products.

Kishore feels the campaign is all about telling people the integral role the brand plays in their lives. "Just like in Shahrukh's life, Nokia has been an integral part of so many other people's lives," he adds.

Nokia in the past has used celebrities like Naseeruddin Shah but only for product specific campaigns. Globally too, Nokia has refrained from using any brand ambassadors.

The TV commercial features Khan using various Nokia phones in different circumstances and highlighting their functionality.

For instance, he is shown checking his e-mail on one of the phones while in another frame he is interacting with his fans as they take his pictures on a Nokia handset. The commercial ends with the six-pack Khan declaring that Nokia has been an integral part of his life for the last ten years.

Khan, who already endorses brands such as Hyundai, Hewlett Packard, Tag Heuer, Diageo's Masterstroke, Videocon, Sunfeast, commands close to Rs 5 crore per deal.

While Nokia refused to divulge the ad spend, Kishore says the campaign would be "hard to miss" and one can gauge the magnitude of the spend by watching it. Apart from television, the company will use mediums such as print, outdoor, points of sale and digital media to publicise the campaign.

Nokia's ad campaigns in the recent past have had more of a global look and feel. But Kishore feels that the company's strategy is to pick "horses for courses". For instance, a product like N-series, which targets the high-end segment, will have less local touch due to its global appeal.

So with Shahrukh on board, will the brand alter its communication strategy? "No," says Kishore, "we have always had consumer centric campaigns, which tell the buyers how the phones can simplify their lives."

The mobile handset market in India is pegged around Rs 15,000 crore, with Nokia having a market share of about 70 per cent. While Nokia might be ahead of its rivals as far as market shares are concerned, analysts feel that it's an "interesting move" on the brand's part to use Khan for a brand campaign.

"Though it's not following suit for competition, it would definitely add more spice to the communication aspect in the market," feels a Delhi-based analyst.

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