Somebody Else's Phone: Would you look through it?

Ad firm Wieden + Kennedy London translates the idea of "cellular oversharing" into a much gushed-about advertising campaign of fake authenticity for cell phone maker Nokia.

Somebodyelsesphone (Credit: Somebody Else's Phone)

If you found somebody else's phone, would you look through it? That's a rhetorical question. Of course! Your phone is your life, at least if you're under 25, and there's nothing more interesting than the "lives of others."

The advertising firm Wieden + Kennedy London translated the idea of "cellular oversharing" into a much gushed-about ad campaign for Nokia. "Somebody Else's Phone" depicts the lives of three twentysomethings through their text messages, multimedia messaging service, and pictures, and it essentially creates a new story format: the phone novel.

Fusing scripted content with real-life audience interaction, the campaign runs in 10 different languages, following the characters' evolving storylines through a 24-7 feed of content, across three time zones, over 6 weeks.

Nice idea, though the blog of marketing firm Luon comments, "Sometimes it feels a bit like trying too hard. The advertising-tries-to-be-socially-smart thing, where it's not clear what is real and what is fake."

But that's exactly the point. Fake authenticity--I've already written about "Mad Men" on Twitter in this context--is a burgeoning trend. Fake is fine, as long as it feels real. We'll see more of it in 2009.

About the author

    Tim Leberecht is Frog Design's chief marketing officer. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET.


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