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The Empire Strikes Back: the Genius Behind the Globe & Smart Nokia Launch Events #GlobeLumia800 #SmartNokiaLumia

April 19, 2012

The problem with over-hyping a launch event is that it tends to drown the real star of the ball. Think Magnum. The ice cream is actually delicious but the way they launched it seemed to piss everyone off.

It sets expectations too high that during this day and age where the necessity to trend seem to be a do-or-die situation, more often than not companies even those as big as Globe and Smart risk falling flat on the face.

Everyone I got to talk to can easily say that the launching events for both Globe and Smart for the Nokia Lumia series here in the Philippines is not as big as should be. In fact, some wondered why they did not have both events at the same time and on the same day? But I think that’s the genius of it all because rather than making it a war between the telecoms, it became the pedestal for the Nokia Empire to strike back.

The first event I was aable to visit was that of Globe Telecom yesterday, March 18. It boasted of a venue I’ve never been to and a DJ I’ve never heard of (but it’s only because I’m hardly the person who has the right taste in music.) Although I initially thought the event would be very humble, the people in the vicinity of Beso was somewhat overflowing that I honestly had no idea how I was supposed to go inside in order to have a good time. Worse, my phone battery died on me (nope, it’s not a Nokia) and had no way of locating people I was pretty sure who would be in the event.

Needless to say after stepping on the mat above and awaited to be amazed, I was gone after a short while after getting to see a long-lost friend in the ocean of anonymous figures. Hence the reason behind one of my most retweeted tweets yesterday that goes:

In a megapolis of almost 20 million people, if you chance upon afamiliar face amidst all the rush, it might just be fate.

And that,  my friends, is another story….

The second event I was able to go to came a bit of a surprise since I actually had a disappointing experience with Smart before and expected my name to be in the persona non grata list. But being offered the chance to see some goodlooking people at the other end of the telecom spectrum was just too hard for me to resist. Yes, I’m also shallow like that. After making rounds at a local bookstore chain for work, I decided to give the Smart event a chance to amaze me and voila, there I was with my ridiculous bag. After all, having recently switched as a full-fledged Smart subscriber (albeit just prepaid for now unless I dream of getting a Nokia Lumia myself), I thought what the heck, I’m entitled to be there. In fact, some other guys during the event kept on laughing by themselves that they actually had no Smart numbers  (read as Globe iPhone 4S).

Just like the Globe event, I’ve never been to Republiq (well, still I’ve never been inside since I went home way before the party started) or that place beside that and have never heard of the DJ who was about to play some music. But once again, I’m not the epitome of coolness so I really don’t know what I’m missing.

Now, I’ve always thought those things I saw on YouTube with would-be tech critics saying their piece about the Lumia felt too good to be true. Colin Chan, one of them writers from Unbox.ph also told me that the Nokia Lumia was a sight to behold after the Thermos event (or something like that) but I honestly thought he was just like being any other tech blogger in this side of cyberspace: all smiles, no bite. But to my utter amazement, it seems Colin like the rest of ze bloggers worldwide were correct that the Nokia Lumia may just be the salvation for this Finnish mobile phone manufacturer.

I could just imagine the universal disclaimer we see too oftentimes in brochures that go “phone screen is simulated only.” But even with the pangs of OS & battery pitfalls and all, I must say the Nokia Lumia 710 (which was actually the only unit I got to actually touch and operate) was nothing short of magical.

The first cellphone I ever owned was a Nokia 1610.That is why touching the Nokia Lumia 710 for the first time which the model gladly explained to me without hesitation had a Ratatouille effect. It felt like home. Even without asking much about how to use it, I knew which buttons to push and things like that. And no, it doesn’t seem to imitate the iPhone or the Blackberry. The Windows OS has a world of its own in my honest opinion.

I won’t dwell much on the technical aspects of the phones because it isn’t really apple-to-all in terms of the hardware and the respective networks that will exclusively support it for some time. And after all, I don’t have the credibility to judge it as that. But coming from a social media enthusiast who would want a real value for money, I must say the Nokia Lumia series (or specifically the Nokia Lumia 710 which was the only unit I got to test) might just be worth the price and hype.

As for the events itself, all I can say sans the minor taunting from the Globe team online regarding the Smart Nokia Lumia Launch, the Globe event was more diplomatic. The Smart Event, on the other hand, felt like just any Saturday at Newport Mall or so they say. To be honest, the Smart Event had the propensity to rub it in that they really are the better network and the hosts sometimes forget that Smart also distribute other brands of mobile phones.

But then again, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Anyhoo, congrats to Team Nokia for a humble yet successful launch of the Nokia Lumia in the Philippines. Your decision (methinks) not to make this about Globe or Smart but about Nokia seems to underline why amidst all the buzz, you are still the market leader at least for now.

Thanks to Coy for inviting me for the Globe event. Thanks to Abbie Real (P.S.I  would like to think what you said at the entrance – hehe – as a compliment) for inviting me to Smart’s.  And to all the personalities I finally got to meet at Republic hope to see you all again in future opportunities. To that guy who undoubtedly recognizes me (at the Smart event) but can’t seem to fathom why I was there, hello to you and let bygones be bygones.  And to the Smart Communication employee who just viewed my LinkedIn profile, please learn to logout first before stalking anybody online.

Note: I apologize for any typo or incoherence of some sort but if I don’t publish this post ASAP I may never have the time to do it with the things I have to face by, uhm, tomorrow. Goodnight, world!

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2012 5:48 pm

    This was a very good read, King. 🙂 My phone died yesterday too. O baka nahiya lang sa Lumia. haha

    See you soon!

  2. April 19, 2012 11:53 pm

    The issue with these two launches here (and I went to both) is that the hype was all about the launch itself and nearly nothing about the phone. Ask a random person at both these events if they could name 10 apps for Windows Phone or 10 specific features about the phones and they’ll give you a blank stare. Nobody knows anything about Windows Phone – they just blindly follow what celebrities tell them – its fast; you can do things quickly; you can go on Facebook; its so amazing (sic) – but you never actually learn or see anything firsthand. You’ll just have to take their word for it – and their word is about as rehearsed and clad in marketing spiel that your ears would rather bleed than hear more.

    Windows Phone is a great OS. It’s too bad the launches were more about the launches and less about phone itself. At the end of the day, when people come to us and ask us “is a Nokia Lumia 800 / 710 good?,” can you confidently answer or are you just gonna regurgitate the launch hype? If we were probably not as informed as we are and given only the information from these two launches, can we confidently answer the question: Name 10 apps for Windows Phone and Name 10 Features Unique to Windows Phone? I doubt we can even get through 3.

  3. April 20, 2012 3:07 am

    My post was really in comparison to the previous iPhone 4S events. At any rate, yes, they should’ve focused more on the technical aspects of the phone but I doubt that would have helped. Half of the guests in both events just wanted to win a phone, the other half was just boy/girl watching. Maybe they should just have some sort of Mobile World Congress in the Philippines to appease the more discerning techies? But that would become too boring for the general crowd, which comprised most of the people invited by both Globe and Smart. Maybe the rest of the industry players should do just that especially since we are still IMHO the texting/social media capital of the world.

    In my honest opinion, a lot of people would buy the Nokia Lumia even without knowing what exactly does same thing with the other popular mobile phone units. Actually, that’s exactly what some of my friends online/offline would ask me. They’re not techies but just an average consumer and they want to know if the Nokia Lumia would wow them still. Although for the Smart launch, the model I got to talk to was able to discuss some things I cared about knowing (but actually already knew thanks to YouTube.) But that’s just me. I never really placed the model on the hotseat. But just like any other smart phone user I know who went along with the recent fads, I think what only matters is the fact that it has a “good camera,” support for the popular apps/sns, and a data plan that can support continuous use.

  4. April 20, 2012 1:13 am

    Hi Alex, you have good points raised there but personally, Globe or Smart, it all boils down to the objective of the event which I think is to spark interest over the new Nokia Lumias. Remember that Nokia hasn’t really launched something this big in a long time and people tend to focus more on Apple and Android nowadays. To get consumers into the consideration phase of actually buying these phones, they need to be aware about it first. That’s why Magnum was successful. Hate it or love it, it became so familiar, people just need to know how it tasted. Some may think its overrated but Magnum got you to do what they wanted you to do – buy the freakin’ ice cream.

    When it comes to event executions, there will also be a difference when your main audience are consumers compared to media or bloggers. The events of the past 2 nights were focused on consumers that’s why it’s big in scale and entertainment-based. Media and blogger-centric gatherings are more skewed to giving out detailed information more than entertainment.

    I believe the role of these events is generate new interest in Nokia’s new portfolio and get people talking and searching about it on social media or Google. The next step for Globe and Smart is make sure that information (like specs, how good it is, plan packages) is readily available when people starts looking for it. 🙂

  5. April 20, 2012 3:10 am

    This entry is nicely written. Except for the pictures that all show Smart, it’s great to see a blogger who writes about two competing brands with equal highlights and lowlights in a single post – without having to bash one for the other.

    I bet we’d all love to see one grand Nokia launch with two telecoms on opposite sides of the hall, but yeah, I agree that the winner in all these launches – whether how big or small – is Nokia. (Oh, I can relate to you that using a Nokia always feels like home for me, too.)

    And why didn’t I get to meet you in Globe’s event? Catch you in future events.

  6. April 20, 2012 9:27 am

    Haha, my phone camera had no more battery after I checked-in at Beso via Foursquare. That’s the reason I no longer had any pics coming from the Globe event. Coy also only invited me via DM so I could not just hit print screen for that. Anyhoo, you didn’t see me at Beso since I was like “gone in 60 seconds.” As for Smart’s, I think I stayed for around an hour.

  7. you know who permalink
    April 20, 2012 9:56 am

    nice post king. i think most people who went to the events especially bloggers and writers will say nothing but nice things with the hope they’d get a free phone. nice to see you blog again without reservations. i was also hoping i’d win one during the globe event but i wasn’t so lucky. im curious though if you are aware that globe did not raffle only lumia 800 phones as what most people expected but mostly just the lower lumia 610s.

  8. April 21, 2012 1:43 pm

    thanks. and yes, i was aware….

  9. July 17, 2012 4:17 am

    You mentioned that half of the guests were probably only there to win a phone. That’s ironic because at one of the events you can clearly tell the raffles were rigged anyway. 😛

  10. July 17, 2012 5:03 am

    As a marketing professional, I would like to believe this does not happen. It would be too pathetic a ploy just to make the so-called strategic influencer blog about your event more by making him “win” with the secondary intention of not having to feel the need to give the same treatment to the others since it was purely random, after all. *rotfl*

  11. July 17, 2012 5:12 am

    Tell that to the roomful of people who witnessed all phones be awarded to people who were basically seated at one table alone. We’re not that stupid.

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