Internets Celebrity Endorsement: Nokia + NahRight

by rafi on December 14, 2009

Nokia established a blogger relationship program all the way back in 2005 where they would send smartphones out to be evaluated by prominent bloggers without any requirement of a review. What they got in return was not just publicity but the feedback of vocal critics who despite getting a free gadget were also quick to point out any flaws of these devices, lest they be considered shills. That Nokia felt strongly enough about their product to do that was in itself a strong marketing move.

I don’t know if the Nokia blogger relations program – which politely turned me down in mid-2008 – is still active. But with that history, I thought it was fitting for Nokia to be the company that turned Nah Right’s eskay into a spokesperson for their new product, the Booklet 3G. You can view the campaign titled “Eskay’s Connection” here.

I’m not a fan of the selling ad-space model for bloggers and we’ll talk more about that in the future but this is something entirely different. The Nokia campaign uses a very visible blogger as celebrity endorsement, and I think it’s great. Check the video and you’ll see Eskay makes a much more believable spokesperson for a tech product than a rapper can. I’m looking at you Jay-Z!

Nah Right is all about up-to-the-minute constant updates. I recently lamented that has made it a poor fit for my liking as a reader, but the same characteristic makes it perfect for a mobile web device testimonial.

It says a lot that Nokia sought out the cool of a hip-hop blogger instead of a rapper to sprinkle brand dust on their product. Of course, it’s hard to imagine any of the rappers Nah Right covers being in a spot like this. Blackberry could do a montage of mc’s in the booth reading their lyrics off their cell phones but that’s about it.

The spot ran on Nah Right last week, showcased by a banner at the top of the page reading “Eskay’s Connection” and just a single low-key text link at the end of a typical Nah Right post. “FYI – I drafted this post on my sweet new Nokia Booklet 3G.” it read. That there were a few cries in the comments about eskay selling out speaks to how irrational people are. After all, Nah Right goes heavy with the ads. This weekend I was visiting that same post and there were giant banner ads above and below the Nah Right header that pushed the actual post below the fold.

It was actually totally jarring to see the Nokia banner days earlier, a banner ad incorporating the blogger where the ad sits. For once the ad wasn’t just this weird thing from another dimension with no connection to the blog. I also imagine Complex and eskay must have worked out a more lucrative deal than their usual ad placement, which also makes me wonder if those cries of “sell out” aren’t really just jealousy at someone doing things differently and getting it right.

We actually made a little Internets Celebrities endorsement deal of our own while getting Stadium Status funded. It’s for a two-person company with no office (hardly Nokia) but they have a kick-ass product that I’ve been using happily for over a year. More to come on that in the future. Feel free to beat the rush by calling us sell-outs now.

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