Tuesday, July 8

Nokia Playland with Sooff

Nokia has launched a new branded virtual world campaign - Nokia Playland.

Quite exciting new site by Nokia in partnership with Sooff, the technology provider and virtual world operator. The website is in Chinese and targeting a local market with a handful of simple fun games. This campaign is focussed on raising interest in a line of mobile phone products including the N95 8GB, N78 and 6220.

Sooff, also known as Show Off is a flash-based 2D virtual world that is targeted at local youth audience. Think Habbo in Chinese with improved graphics very local Hong Kong flavour.

It's an interesting move by Nokia and has gathered some amount of buzz in the online world. It shows them willing to move beyond traditional advertising model online and engage even more with their audience in the avatar communities they enjoy to spend their time.

To get in to the Nokia Playland, users only need to fill in their simple personal details, like email and username, then they can create their 2D avatar based on preset face, hairstyle and fashion items. It is 100% free to register as “players”. Inside Nokia Playland, there are 4 main zones which line up with Nokia features – “Snap Zone”, “Chic Stage”, “Beat Area” and “Playland Notice Board”.
  1. Playland Notice Board – an introduction area of the Playland.
  2. Snap Zone – a mini game which players need to take a particular snapshot, the less time taken and the less flame needed, the higher score the player receives.
  3. Chic Stage – a mini game where users need to use the “Nokia Maps” function to find out where the headphones have been hidden inside the Playland.
  4. Beat Area – a mini game where users need to hit arrow keys on the keyboard in rhythm to line up with certain beats of the music

The site is simple and easy to understand. Users can get the selling point of different series Nokia mobile through the games inside. Additionally, it create an interesting brand experience to the targeted group – primarily teens, by an avatar community which is fun and relevant.

Whilst there are chat and PM functions, the rest of the community features found in all 2D avatar sites such as friends lists, profiles and albums are lacking. And user feedback from those who have tried the site is that it is fun for a certain time while doing the handful of mini-games, but becomes a lot less interesting after.

The key issue from the user point of view is that Nokia Playland is single brand environment.

Existing Sooff users cannot use their avatar in Playland, nor interact or chat with Playland users. For the long term though, it's unlikely a single brand virtual world is going to have compelling staying power as a destination beyond the initial buzz. As can be seen by the success of sites such as Stardoll and Meez, mix-n-match platforms which let users enjoy many brands as well as user generated content have far better success in retaining and rapidly growing their user base.

However if the main goal of the campaign is to be a short-term creative & engaging marketing campaign for youth, then Nokia has certainly done very well.

via VR Fashion

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