Can Nokia sway photographers to Windows Phone?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| July 30, 2013

We all know that marketing isn't as easy as some would like it to be. It's incredibly difficult to market some devices. It's even harder to convince swaths of potential buyers to buy your gadget with just a single commercial. But we see ads all the time that that's obviously the point. It's a one advertisement campaign. One step at a time. Baby steps, even. All working towards the same goal: Buy the new thing.

I may be in the minority here, but it's not just the bad adverts that I remember. There are plenty of Samsung-branded commercials out there, especially geared around the Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S III, that I remember very well, because they were good at delivering the message they wanted to deliver. Even if that message was basically making fun of another smartphone manufacturer. I remember them because they were well made, got the point they were trying to make across, and the phone they were trying to sell me was in the ad the whole time.

And that's probably the easiest thing to overlook for some advertisements, it seems. I can't even count how many times I've seen a commercial for something, but the actual thing isn't in the commercial. At least, not until the very end. So, I've watched a 30- or 60-second advertisement for something that I only get to see for a whopping five seconds? To me, that's not effective in the slightest.

That's why I think Apple's and Samsung's ads work so dang well. While they're telling you something, whether visually or through a voice over, they've also got the device they want you to buy on the screen. You can see it. You can even see some people messing around with it, which can also be known as actually using it. They aren't using something in the device's place. Nope. They're trying to show you a wide range of scenarios where that one particular device can make sense in your life, based on someone else actually using it.

There are so many factors inside advertisement, though, that I can't even pretend like I know everything a marketing team is trying to cover. I can only go off the ad itself, after it's made and released. I can only gauge my reaction to a product after I've seen how it's marketed. HTC, Samsung, and Apple know this all too well. It's something that Motorola and Verizon used to know, but have apparently all but forgotten.

Nokia has been working diligently on creating noteworthy advertisements for their Lumia lineup of devices. The ad where there's a wedding, and the two sides start fighting because they're carrying Samsung and Apple devices is pretty great, but only because it's entertaining to watch. I just can't help but say, "Hey, only two people have Lumia-branded Windows Phone devices," while the majority carry something else.

It's been less than a week since the official launch of the Lumia 1020, Nokia's Windows Phone with a 41MP camera on the back. As you can imagine, marketing for the phone has already begun. In an ad I saw last night, Nokia wants you to think that the Lumia 1020 is the "first smartphone to put the camera first," and I'll go ahead and leave that up to you to discuss. Because, well, there are other cameras that run a smartphone mobile operating system out there.

In any event, the advertisement shows people out in the world, taking photos of real life moments. But they are doing it with their hands, where a phone or a camera should be. The ad is 31 seconds long, and you don't get to see the phone until 17 seconds in. Admittedly, that's better than some ads, but it's still not great.

It would have been blatantly copying one of Apple's recent camera-focused ads for their iPhone 5, but Nokia could have done well for itself if it had simply put Lumia 1020s into the hands of all the people snapping photos earlier in the ad, and actually shown the device in those situations. What does it look like during a football match? How about outside, on a nice sunny day, snapping a photo of family and friends? These are things people want to see, because that's the type of stuff people will be doing with the phone.

I'd say it's going to come down to pricing, in the end, and that could very well be. However, I think Nokia does honestly believe that the Lumia 1020 isn't so much a Windows Phone, at least not as we've known them in the past. It's a camera first and foremost, and the Windows Phone platform, and even all those smartphone functions and apps that don't necessarily relate directly to the camera, are all just extra. Nokia believes the Lumia 1020 is a camera, and with that state of mind, the price probably makes great sense.

Especially with the two-year contract, and price drop down to $299.99. And if you compare it to Samsung's Android-based camera effort available for AT&T right now, where the camera is obviously the most important part, that $499 price tag can seem pretty high (off-contract, mind you) for "only" a 16MP camera. So, the question suddenly becomes, will photographers prefer to use Android over Windows Phone, or vice versa? Or, neither? 

But I'm not necessarily asking you if you believe the Lumia 1020 is too expensive. What I want to know from you, is if you believe Nokia's Lumia 1020 really is just a camera with a smartphone OS attached to it, and whether or not you believe Windows Phone is ready for a device like that. Should Nokia be basing its ads on a device they're calling "the first smartphone to put the camera first?" Will this be the device to sway those who think the camera is the most important feature in their smartphone? Let me know what you think!