Faced with aggressive consumer brand rivalry in a growing but cut-throat market, Finnish handset giant has roped in the King of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, to make sure that it keeps the market share lead.
With a 75 per cent share in the market, Nokia has a lot to defend against rivals such as Motorola and Sony Ericsson, who have their own Bollywood models in Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan, respectively.
In a television commercial set to go on air this week, Khan, who is way above the other two stars, is driving a not-so-subtle message that Nokia is an alternative to landlines, hoping to associate the Finnish brand with mobile telephony itself as a generic phenomenon.
This comes amidst a general trend that increasingly, more callers favour cellphones over landlines in the US – something that could spread across the world.
"Nokia was the undisputed leader of cellphones in India until a while back and they are still leading but people are taking a fancy to other brands as well. The market is opening up very fast and one needs to have a brand that can have affinity with people across categories - man, woman, young or old. Shah Rukh Khan is neither a bachha nor an oldie and can reach out to people across age groups," Santosh Sood, independent marketing consultant told Hindustan Times.
With a younger generation willing to explore alternative options, it is a tough call for Nokia to stay ahead in a market which it has dominated for 13 years.
"Shah Rukh Khan represents youth, he is trendy and also tech savvy. He has been a Nokia user for the last ten years and hence, this association," Devinder Kishore, Director Marketing, Nokia India told Hindustan Times. Not disclosing the ad spend that the company is going to invest into this campaign, Kishore added that the TVC would be followed by outdoor and prints ads later.
However, Khan is not yet the official brand ambassador for Nokia – a relationship that the company has left open.
The ad has been directed by Pradeep Sarkar, who directed recent movies like Parineeta and Laga Chunari Me Daag. Previous Nokia ads were more product specific and thematic and of course, without a celebrity.
The ad shows Shah Rukh in various acts of life, on and off the sets, trying to manage work, life balance, with Nokia being the device that connects it all up.