Plucky Nokia ads hit at iPhone weaknesses

The spots don't mention Apple by name, but they clearly focus on user concerns with the company's devices.

By Wall St. Cheat Sheet Apr 3, 2012 5:29PM

Apple (AAPL) may be the classroom bully, but Nokia (NOK) is reveling in the tried-and-true role of underdog, poking fun at its larger rival in a series of new advertisements. 

Ahead of this weekend's release of its Microsoft (MSFT) Windows Phone 7-powered Lumia 900, on which both companies are betting big, Nokia has come up with a promotional campaign that targets apparent weaknesses of the Apple iPhone. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)

Three advertisements, titled "Death Grip," "Outside" and "Fragile," show what appear to be hidden-camera video clips from a smartphone testing center. (You can see the ads here.) In the videos, two executives make dismissive fun of a third colleague trying to raise concerns about the phone's problems.

The ad segments don't mention Apple, and the image of the phone has been blurred out, but "Death Grip" mentions antenna problems similar to what some iPhone 4 users experienced. "Outside" targets the idea that the phone's screen washes out in the sun, and "Fragile" makes fun of the breakable glass on an iPhone. "Say someone drops it and it breaks," one executive says. "Bingo. We just sold another phone."

The advertisements are hosted on a website that counts down ongoing smartphone testing to April 6, a couple of days before the expected release of the Lumia 900 -- for which Nokia is partnering with wireless carrier AT&T (T).

The popular iPhones and the cheaper Google (GOOG) Android devices dominate the U.S. smartphone market, leaving Nokia, which was once dominant for its budget-friendly and hardy devices, way behind. Its earlier Windows Phone entry with T-Mobile, the Lumia 710, did well, but was more of a mass-market device than an aspirational one.

Only 4% of Nokia's sales in 2011 came from North America, down from 5% in 2010.

The $99.99 price tag of the Lumia 900 puts it among the best smartphone deals, and Microsoft's new Windows Phone software is expected to match up to new high standards while standing out with its own look. AT&T had announced it would make the launch a memorable one and a notch above anything seen before. Nokia is making all the right noises to generate buzz before its big gamble, but will its second coming be a winning one?

Aabha Rathee is a writer at Wall St. Cheat Sheet. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned stocks.

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Apr 3, 2012 7:50PM
You have to love the sarcasm if not the content. I mean Steve Job's says the PC's dead and he proceeds to build little ones with dysfunctional screens and make a $100 billion in profits off clueless consumers. Then we find out Apple's making those 30% profits by paying Chinese slave labor wages and leveraging tax breaks from US cities that are cutting employees and services. Can't wait to proudly display my Nokia hardware and Microsoft functionality that will cost $100. 
Apr 4, 2012 2:53PM
seems to me that the buzz is working, atleast it convinced me to buy one.
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