Ask any group of young people in Malaysia the names of mobile handsets they regard as innovative, exciting and fun and you're more than likely to get the response, 'iPhone', or perhaps 'Android' or even 'Samsung Galaxy'. Somewhere further down the list the same group of people might say 'Nokia'. This obviously wasn't great news for Nokia's business in the country.
The market leading position of the brand had been eroded. In 2010, Nokia's growth rate was 2% compared to Apple's iPhone at 90%, albeit from a low base. To compound the situation, Nokia's brand preference amongst Malaysian youth had sunk to 29%. Nokia was a brand in desperate need of revitalising. Brand imagery needed rebuilding and word of mouth (WOM) value had to be restored. Malaysian youth needed a reason to fall back in love with Nokia phones.
Nokia's problem was familiarity. Because its handsets were so commonplace, the brand had lost its exciting edge. But Nokia's ubiquitous nature could also provide the solution to its problems. A strategy was needed that would use the thousands of Nokia handsets already in circulation to reignite interest in the brand.
Most people know that the world's most popular online game is Angry Birds. But few people were aware that it can be played on their Nokia. So to capitalise on the game's popularity and to make Nokia the focus of people's attention once more, Nokia decided to create an event that would gather people together to play one continuous game of Angry Birds, played by passing a single Nokia handset around a packed stadium.
The 'Nokia world's biggest Angry Birds playground' took place in Kuala Lumpur on 11 June 2011. The strategy and communications plan was put into action with the client's PR, media, advertising, event management and digital agency partners. Pre-launch: A mix of social media, PR interviews and coverage, internet/press/magazine and radio advertising was used along with guerrilla street performers. Nokia stores got involved with event point of sale material and event information. Man-sized Angry Bird characters accosted young people in the street and Nokia's Head of Marketing was interviewed on primetime breakfast morning TV.
On the event day itself, news coverage was generated on digital, TV and the press driving last minute participation. The stadium was dressed and packed with different entertainment for people to enjoy (an Angry Birds Nokia dance was created for the day), plus Nokia giveaways, product showcases and merchandising. Guinness Book of Records officials presided over the game relay itself to judge if it was a world record event.
9,000 people turned up to the event, surpassing the target of 5,000. 5,000 people interacted directly with Nokia, beating the 1,500 target. In a youth audience survey, 82% participants agreed with the statement: 'Nokia is now more innovative, exciting, fun.'
The Angry Birds event generated TV and press coverage to the value of RM1.7million. It engaged more than 90,000 unique web visitors and stimulated blogs, tweets and Facebook forums.
Malaysia is now the Guinness World Record Holder for 'The Most People in a Mobile Phone Game Relay.'
Antony Wilson, the Head of Marketing - Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei, has this to say: " It smashed expectations. It was fun, engaging with amazing results… putting us back on the youth radar."