CAMPAIGNS: Nokia’s courtesy call in San Diego - Branding PR

Client: Nokia Americas (Dallas)

Client: Nokia Americas (Dallas)

Client: Nokia Americas (Dallas)

PR Team: Ketchum (Atlanta)

Campaign: Cell Phone Courtesy Week Campaign

Time Frame: May to July 17, 2000

Budget: $62,000

The growing number of mobile phones worldwide has raised new issues of

social etiquette. With more than 94 million mobile phones now in service

in the US, yakkers are beginning to assess when and how the devices

should be used in public. Ketchum’s Atlanta office latched onto this

emerging issue to help client Nokia Americas position itself as a good

corporate citizen. Ketchum and Nokia worked with San Diego mayor Susan

Golding on the nation’s first Cell Phone Courtesy Week.

The idea came about after Golding and her daughter attended a movie that

was interrupted by a ringing cell phone. The mayor used her Web site to

run a poll, which found that more than 85% of people approved of

restricting cell-phone use in museums, theaters and other locations.

Armed with this survey, she launched an awareness campaign highlighting

the need for good mobile phone manners.


Ketchum and Nokia had already been discussing ways to be more proactive

in the communications company’s PR efforts, including the possibility of

an etiquette campaign. ’We had done campaigns like this in Asia and had

been throwing around the idea of how to take a leadership position and

do something about this here,’ says Megan Matthews, Nokia’s senior

communications manager. However, Nokia was leery of appearing to lecture

people on how to use their phones.

The opportunity arose when the mayor began looking to cell phone

companies for help publicizing and designing a logo for the campaign. At

Ketchum’s urging, Nokia quickly stepped forward.

Ketchum decided to promote the issue on both a local and national


Nokia has only recently established operations in San Diego, long

considered the wireless capital of the US, and thus the campaign would

raise awareness about the company’s presence there.

The campaign also enabled Nokia to educate nationwide consumers about

the company’s phones, which feature a silent mode that can mute the ring

if the user desires. ’It was a good way to set Nokia as an industry

leader, and at the same time it promoted San Diego as a forward-thinking

city,’ says Lauren Butler, Ketchum’s account executive for Nokia.


With the help of the mayor’s office, Ketchum and Nokia created a logo

featuring a Nokia phone. The ’Quiet Zone’ logo was the center point of a

poster, placed in restaurants, museums and theaters, reminding people to

switch off their phones.

The Quiet Zone logo was included in press kits that were sent out to

local newspapers and TV stations, as well as trade publications covering

the wireless field. The kit alerted the journalists to the overall

issue, as well as to the July 10 press conference in San Diego kicking

off Cell Phone Courtesy Week. At the press event, Mayor Golding and

Nokia Mobile Phone Division VP Larry Paulson urged other mayors to

institute similar campaigns of their own. (Attendees got a chuckle when

Mayor Golding’s own cell phone rang during the event.)

Ketchum also hired nationally known food critic Bill Boggs as phone

etiquette spokesperson for a VNR that was mailed to hundreds of

television stations across the country. Ketchum maximized coverage

during Cell Phone Courtesy Week by developing five days’ worth of

courtesy tips that were released on Business Wire and e-mailed to

lifestyle reporters in the top 25 newspaper markets.


The press conference was covered by virtually all local press, including

six local TV stations, the San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Times

and several local radio talk shows. National print coverage included a

piece in USA Today, as well as trade publications RCR and Wireless


The VNR featuring Boggs has already aired on 118 local TV stations

across the country, as well as national outlets such as CNN/fn and

Bloomberg News.


Butler says Ketchum is in discussions with Nokia to stage similar

awareness programs in other cities.

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