Nokia is the world's largest manufacturer and enjoys more than one-third of the entire mobile phones market.
It wasn't always the case for the Finnish brand, however. For 100 years of its history, Nokia had nothing to do with telecoms; its core businesses were rubber and paper. The past 15 years saw the building of a business that now leads the world with a dazzling portfolio of phone products.
These products have built the Nokia name and the stature it now has within the mobile phones market.
Nokia is now one of the world's Superbrands and this is more than reflected in its advertising. Its TV commercials underpin its technological as well as its stylish appeal. So, just as the brand has developed and grown over the years, the advertising has improved too. The early marketing proposition was built upon functionality and many of the ads were created to highlight this. But as Nokia's business developed, the advertising helped to move the brand into a whole new area. The functional advertising has become more iconic and stylish, with a strong brand identity that is instantly recognisable.
The latest N-Gage spot is the ultimate example of Nokia's change of positioning (1). It is absolutely cutting edge and uses powerful images and mood to capture the iconic stature of the brand. It is a far cry from Nokia's first appearance on TV back in 1989, when Mikhail Gorbachev was televised making a call on the first true mobile phone. This resulted in the Nokia Cityman being nicknamed "The Gorba".
The more recent use of dark imagery in Nokia's commercials - as seen in the recent N7250 (6) and N6170 (3) campaigns - further enhances the iconic brand image. This, coupled with the clever way in which the brand has emphasised the product features, takes Nokia advertising to a whole new level. In my opinion, Nokia's advertising reflects its brand positioning and status; the high production values that are now associated with the ads reflect the high quality of Nokia's phones. The advertising has now become every bit as classy and sophisticated as the phones themselves.
Nokia has two core strands to its business; it must satisfy the masses and appeal to the niche. As the biggest mobile phone manufacturer, it has to juggle this juxtapositioning, which, through technological brilliance and iconic appeal, it does. By the same token, it is every bit as important that the advertising does the same. Over the years, I believe that it has managed this relationship well, maintaining a certain credibility within a youth market that is future-facing. This manifests itself not only in television advertising but also through event sponsorship and partnerships, with music links and uber-cool sports associations, such as snowboarding, windsurfing and skateboarding.
I don't think we can ever over-estimate the importance of design to the Nokia brand. It has been fundamental to its historical success and is key to its future. The advertising we see today that has developed with and supported the brand over the years should be applauded. Television has played a massive role in communicating Nokia's message and underpinning its style to both the masses and the niche.
1. N-GAGE LAUNCH Title: Street Agency: Grey London Year: 2003 2. N3220 Title: Get together - do whatever Agency: Grey Copenhagen Year: 2004 3. N6170 LAUNCH Title: Castor - steel appeal Agency: Sek & Grey Year: 2004 4. N6230 LAUNCH Title: Matrix - world premiere Agency: Sek & Grey Year: 2004 5. N7610 LAUNCH Title: Catalina - babyboom Agency: Sek & Grey Year: 2004 6. N7250 Title: Eye to eye Agency: Sek & Grey Year: 2003