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Nokia 'Rock Up and Play'

Nokia 'Rock Up and Play'


Nokia had witnessed a losing market share and loss of brand affinity with the all-important youth demographic. The mobile giant also wanted to raise its profile in the highly-competitive, but very lucrative, mobile music player market, as well as boost its brand in general.

Research shows technology adoption is driven by young, leading-edge consumers – exactly where Nokia was performing weakest.

The Challenges

Music-immersed 16-24 year olds were identified as a key audience. Any campaign would need to reach them in large numbers and demonstrate a direct and emotional brand engagement.

But the challenge of winning over this cynical and sought-after audience was vast. 
Luckily, while the challenge was great, so was the potential reward – once you’ve cracked them there’s a good chance they will stay with you for life.

Music is by far the most effective way of reaching this market. The problem is most campaigns fail because their methods are perceived as being corporate and cynical rather than credible.

Not only can a poorly devised campaign mean money wasted, it can actually damage the brand. Clearly, for an experiential campaign to be effective it needed to be unique and relevant.


Haygarth’s solution was an interactive on and offline brand experience where people could showcase, share and connect in their passion for music. Nokia Rock Up & Play celebrated musical talent by giving bands, individuals and air guitarists the opportunity to simply turn up and perform on stage at pubs, music venues or at the summer’s top festivals.

Haygarth director Damian Charles said, “We wanted to create an interactive and ‘emotional’ brand experience that brought the best out of the brand essence of ‘Connecting People’ and tapped into the target audience’s hearts and minds.”


Rock Up & Play put festival goers in the spotlight, promoting the excitement of the live experience with raw emotion and pure energy at its heart.

Haygarth’s Charles continued, “We acknowledged that the target audience needed to feel involved, and be part of something, rather than just ‘being there’. Unlike the numerous brands doing talent searches, we wanted to develop a really interactive and spontaneous concept where consumers formed the experience.”

Rock Up & Play provided a platform for new music talent and a place that new music fans could visit to find, review and promote new artists.


Word of mouth was key to the credibility and ‘realness’ of the concept both prior to, and during, the festivals.  The campaign was supported, both pre and post festival, through press, radio, third party banners and ticketing flyers.

A large proportion of the media spend was online due to the time spent by the target audience browsing sites such as Youtube, Facebook and MySpace. 

Social networking & youth lifestyle sites such as Xtaster & MySpace were used to seed content and discussion threads across youth platforms.

Virtual Festivals were the key festival media partner and NME provided both reach and relevancy through on and offline editorial support, competitions and co-branded activity.


Haygarth developed an online platform that successfully captured the physical energy of the festival experience with various stages, continuous music performances and ways to share a feeling of inclusiveness including artist Q&A sessions and Air Guitar Championships.

Haygarth’s Charles said: “The look and feel of the site focused on communicating the unique energy of the live music experience– whether playing on stage or being in the crowd. The main emphasis was to create something non-corporate.”

The target audience was encouraged to upload performances online, put questions to artists pre-festival, win tickets to perform or just view other talent. Online advertising included expandable banners streaming Rock up & Play video clips from the festival to promote ticket competitions. As well as a data capture form; users were encouraged to upload a clip of themselves performing for the chance to play live at the festival.

Other activity

The activity was also integrated into Nokia products, including the ability to load edited highlights of artist question-and-answer sessions onto N95 handsets, and participate in guitar tutorials with artists, which were compressed onto an N95, then fed onto a TV screen.

Festival goers were then invited to pick up a guitar and go through the tutorial while hearing what they were playing on a headset. There was also a free photo printing service available in the Rock Up & Play tent where festival goers could send photos via Bluetooth and collect prints in a branded festival photo wallet as a memento.
A free downloadable mobile festival guide was created for all to ensure festival goers could make the most of their experience with up to date line-ups and news, as well as Nokia competitions.

Other activity included special chill-out areas, mobile phone demonstrations and a trailer where people could recharge their phones free, which helped drive traffic to the main Rock Up & Play tent.

In all, more than one million people directly interacted with Nokia Rock Up & Play through on and offline means. 
Awareness was 28% amongst 16 to 24-year-olds, and 56% among the music-immersed in this group. This was certainly an impressive reach, but were the key messages put across effectively?

“Definitely,” said Charles. “The campaign specifically made those 16 to 24-year-olds aware of Rock Up & Play feel more highly disposed to the Nokia brand, while driving its association with music and demonstrating that the brand understands them and knows how to communicate with them.”

What’s more, at festivals the campaign was considered “fun, cool, innovative, unique and relevant”. It also delivered against key brand metrics, for example 87% of those surveyed agreed that “Nokia has products that allow me to listen to music”, 80% agreed “Nokia is a leader in mobile technology”.

The campaign also had a positive impact on product purchase consideration, with 77% of non-Nokia users saying they would consider buying a Nokia next time they purchased a mobile phone – a 7% increase from the 2006 campaign.
“This is a great example of a grassroots youth marketing initiative that really helped Nokia to connect with a disengaged audience in a truly engaging and credible way,” summed up Charles.

“We reached 56% awareness of the concept among our target audience, and over 1,000,000 people directly interacted with Nokia Rock Up & Play through on and offline means."

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