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September 17, 2008

Nokia Legends: Behind the scenes…

GLOBAL – According to technology marketing manager Ross Lamont, the new
Nokia Legends campaign is all about innovation. See, Nokia is all about innovation, whether its in a device, some software or a service. Behind every great innovation sits an army of engineers, scientists, designers and researchers. And each one has its own story. But how can those stories be told? Step forward Nokia Legends.

The product of much brain-storming and coffee consumption by the team (Jyri Kallinen, Ross Lamont and David Mason), the Legends idea was sparked last December by the repeated feeling of a need to tell stories about the innovations going on inside Nokia. The team was also inspired by Urban Legends, those tales that tell a story of something that seems just too good to be true. In the case of Nokia’s innovations, they certainly tell an interesting story but unlike many urban legends, are very real.

Taking technology concepts and turning them into stories in their own right can’t have been easy though. Lamont shrugs it off and says he lucked out by nabbing two script writers who came up with some really good ideas. The concept was always to present the stories in English, but the team wanted this to be truly global, so working with the communications team, they selected Spanish and Mandarin Chinese as two alternative languages.

Selecting someone to tell the story mattered too. According to Lamont they wanted someone authoritative to tell the stories, and for it to be on a one-to-one basis – as if he was telling the story directly to you. It needed to have that feeling of “come and listen to this” for the films to be truly doing their jobs. Step forward Law and Order’s Ron McLarty.

Finding the source material wasn’t difficult for the team. With literally hundreds of innovations to choose from the hard part was deciding which ones should be made into legends. The idea was inspired originally by some of the scientists who had created their own videos of the technology they’d been working on. When it came to choosing which ones to use the list ran into hundreds, before being narrowed down into 10s. Lamont laughs when asked about how difficult it was to choose the final eight and suggests only that “there was some debate involved”.

Whilst this isn’t the first time Lamont and the team have worked on something like this, there were some aspects that were completely new. Shooting 24 films, across three languages in just four days for starters. The production was tight but thankfully went by without a hitch. More interestingly though is the role social media, and bloggers specifically, played in the whole process. Lamont and the social media team recruited a handful of bloggers to help “keep it real”. In fact the bloggers, on board from the outset, were responsible for some script changes, and Ross believes they not only played a key part in the process, but will have a broader influence in the future saying bloggers “are taking a bigger slice of our megaphone”. One video was vastly improved when a blogger suggested the removal of a single line of dialogue. From there the video took on a new dimension and, Lamont believes, became much more believable.

Far from his job being over, the next stage of the process is kicking off. With the site going live today the job now starts of getting it out there and helping people to find out about it. Those bloggers will help, of course, as will the viral elements built into the campaign, not to mention the 100 or so Nokia people involved. But Lamont will be taking it further. Using Nokia’s internal idea-sharing network, he’s planning to solicit feedback from the rest of Nokia and generate some new discussion to find out what people thought. As usual we’ll be counting on you to give him your thoughts on the campaign.

Will we see more Legends? In time, maybe. Depends what people think of the first ones. By the sound of the excitement in his voice though, there’s no doubting what Lamont would like to do. But only time will tell if it itself becomes the stuff of legend.