Open to advertising professionals under age 29, the competition gathers creative teams from around the world. The team members were pre-selected in their own countries, with winners attending Cannes.
Sponsorships like the film festival give brands the platform to demonstrate high-tech gadgets without confusing consumers with geek talk that they may not understand. Through a "clever gimmick," Nokia attempts to fill the gap between mobile communication and home computing platforms, as well as emphasize the phone's high-quality cameras, demonstrating that the Nseries' capabilities are more than talk, according to Aram Sinnreich, co-founder and managing partner at Radar Research, Los Angeles.
"The problem is most plans in the United States are asymmetrical, meaning you can't stream video live," he says. "Advertising the phone as a capture, editing and distribution device might be over-promising a bit, especially as U.S. carriers are looking for ways to rein in consumer bandwidth use."
Still, Nokia's sponsorship taps an interesting trend. More U.S. consumers are becoming content producers. They write and post blogs, add personal clips to YouTube, and make mashups and remixes that are cut into short films. Many U.S. adults roll up their shelves and slap together pieces of media to make something. Sinnreich says this fundamental new behavior reverses the last 100 years--a time when consumers sat at home in living rooms and the powers that be beamed information into their lives.
For the Young Lions Film Competition, Nokia will provide each team in the film segment a Nokia Nseries handset to shoot its entry. The handset maker will collect the footage to produce regular video blogs highlighting teams in action at nseries.com/cannes and create a "behind the scenes" documentary scheduled to air on television in the future.
Twenty-seven teams will use their Nokia Nseries devices to shoot and edit a 60-second viral film within 48 hours. Nokia will announce winners on June 21. Footage of the teams in action will post video blogs at nseries.com/cannes.
Along with the sponsorship, "The Cannes Experiment," a hub featuring the phones in the Palais de Festivals, will give attendees an opportunity to play with customized Nokia Nseries devices. For those who need instruction, experts will hold classes on how to use the devices, including shooting images or video in unique ways. The handsets offer 3G, WLAN and HSDPA, and photo and video capture features such as megapixel cameras and Carl Zeiss optics, quick and intuitive sharing features online, and more.
The jury judging the work of the 20 teams includes Scott Neslund, president and CEO North America, MindShare; Richard Beaven, CEO, Worldwide Initiative New York; Luis Mergulhão, CEO, Portugal, Omnicom Media Group; Susannah Outfin, president, Carat Group.
Nokia spent $104,613 between January and March for advertising, excluding online, estimates Nielsen Monitor-Plus. This compares with $45.2 million and $5.6 million in 2006 and 2007, respectively, according to the research firm. The handset maker shelled out $228,383 for sponsorships in 2006, and $63,630 in 2007.