Nokia Looks for Ad Talent

Mobile phone company Nokia has launched a Web-based promotion to find new advertising ideas from students in university ad programs.

Through its college advertising program, The New U, Nokia will solicit creative proposals from students in advertising programs at various universities. The company will make campus visits to give an overview of the brand and the product, in this case the Nokia 3650 cell phone featuring a built-in camera.

Participating students will design 30-second commercials. Nokia will post the work of eight finalists on The New U’s Web site, and the public will vote on “Is the ad hot or not?” Those voting have a chance to win a Nokia 3650.

The winning ad will be chosen based on the votes received online.

The contest will build on a pilot program launched at University of Missouri-Columbia’s school of journalism. Nokia chose two of the student-created spots to be made into national commercials that aired this month. While the students designed the commercials, Nokia’s agency, The Richards Group, produced the spots that actually aired.

“We held the students to the same criteria we would have our ad agency and we were thrilled with the ads that resulted,” said Debra Kennedy, Nokia USA’s general manager of consumer marketing.

In addition to University of Missouri-Columbia, the expanded The New U program includes the University of Texas, University of Colorado, Southern Methodist University, and Georgian College in Ontario, Canada.

The winning ad is slated to run this fall. The students who design the winning ad will get a free trip to the Nokia Sugar Bowl next January, and will be invited to the advertising shoot. Nokia will also make a donation to the winners’ school.

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