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Nokia: Go big or go home for Windows Phone

Nokia plans to make its biggest marketing push yet as it launches its new Lumia Windows Phone smartphones.

Nokia's new ad campaign is themed "Amazing Everyday." The company is spending lavishly to try to build its brand in the United States and to establish Windows Phone as a strong alternative to Android and iOS.
Nokia's new ad campaign is themed "Amazing Everyday." The company is spending lavishly to try to build its brand in the United States and to establish Windows Phone as a strong alternative to Android and iOS.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

LONDON - Nokia is launching an aggressive marketing campaign to sell the world on its new smartphones based on the Windows Phone operating system.

Wednesday marked Nokia's coming out party for the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710, the first two Nokia smartphones that will use Micrsosoft's Windows Phone operating system. But it also marked the beginning of a marketing program that will Nokia hopes will get consumers excited about the new Lumia product line.

How Nokia markets and positions the Lumia phones against competitors, such as the Apple iPhone and a growing list of Google Android phones is key to the success of the devices and to Nokia in general. As such Nokia is spending a lot of money and effort pushing this device to the forefront of consumers' minds. And it is specifically targeting operators that will invest in getting its message out.

The new campaign that has the tagline "The Amazing Everyday" will paint the Nokia Windows Phone smartphones as "must-have" devices that make using a smartphone as easy as possible. From the easy integration of apps, such as Facebook and Twitter, to the new apps that Nokia introduced exclusively for the Lumia devices, such as free and integrated turn-by-turn navigation and instant music mixes, Nokia aims to offer access to common apps without requiring users to download several separate applications from an app store.

But even though the target market for the phone is more mass market for consumers who have not yet adopted a smartphone, Nokia must also appeal to young and hip consumers, who the company hopes will influence the entire market. These young consumers who are likely already subscribing to other smartphone platforms need to be so "wowed" by the Nokia Windows Phone smartphones that they will recommend the device to others. Steven Overman, who heads up Nokia's marketing strategy, said during the keynote that Nokia needs to drive demand for the product by making these consumers lust for for the Lumia devices.

"We are paying obsessive attention to the target market, which is 25-year olds" he said. "They need to discover things for themselves. They are brand savvy and loyal. And we need to engage them in their hearts and hands."

"The Amazing Everyday" campaign on one level is an optimistic message in a world where generally there is much uncertainty, Overman explained. But it's also about reminding people that despite these challenges, everyday can still be amazing.

"It's amazing how easy it is to take photos of an experience and share it to Facebook," he said. "And it's amazing how integrated and intuitive the user interface is."

As part of this campaign, Nokia will be spending big bucks on traditional advertising in all the launch market. But it will also try to create buzz with marketing stunts that will fill these cities with real live tiles. For example, people will be running through city streets dressed up as the Microsoft Windows Phone tiles. In video shown during the presentation, Nokia dressed up some men in towels to turn city bus stop in Germany into a Finnish sauna.

"We will invade cities with really fascinating and funny stuff," Overman said. "When people encounter moments like this, they will take a picture and share it. And that enthusiasm is contagious."

Overman hopes that these campaigns will build a path for consumers straight to retail locations where the devices are sold.

Nokia won't say how much it plans to spend on the massive marketing campaign. But executives said it's more than they've ever spent on previous device launches. And they are enlisting the help of carrier partners in the markets where the phone will be sold to help drive demand as well. In the six markets where the Lumia 800 is launching, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said that 31 operators will be marketing the device their "hero" smartphone.

"Each operator has committed to marketing at three times the level of marketing dollars committed to any other Nokia launch in history," he said. "Retailers are allocating more space and more staff training than ever before. And Nokia will be putting more live devices into the hands of more retail professionals than ever before."

While the marketing campaigns are only now just kicking off, Avi Greengart, an analyst with Current Analysis, says that what Nokia has planned is an improvement over what Microsoft has accomplished in its marketing of Windows Phone.

"Nokia's messaging around Windows Phone is dramatically better than Microsoft's marketing," he said. "Nokia is making the Windows Phone seem appealing which shouldn't be hard to do because it is appealing."

The big question is whether carriers in the U.S. will pony up to the same level as their international counterparts when Nokia's Windows Phone Lumia devices hit the U.S. market. This may be difficult considering the amount of money and shelf space U.S. carriers are dedicating to other flagship devices, such as the iPhone 4S and some of the new LTE, dual-core Google Android phones.