Nokia's Misleading Advertising Launches Internal Ethics Investigation

Nokia's Misleading Advertising Launches Internal Ethics Investigation

Yesterday, we showed you a commercial from Nokia that was supposed to advertise and highlight the new Lumia PureView camera phone's awesome features. Except the example video and imagery was not shot on a Nokia Lumia PureView. The massive public backlash has resulted in an internal ethics investigation as well as a dent in their public image and Nokia's stock price.

The New York Times is reporting that Nokia confirmed the use of a different camera and eventually apologized, explaining that it meant to demonstrate optical image stabilization, not give the impression that it was demonstrating the phone’s camera itself.

"In our enthusiasm, we showed poor judgment by neglecting to include a disclaimer that the video was not shot using a Lumia 920,” said Doug Dawson, head of media relations at Nokia, in a statement. “It was an error and we apologize for the confusion created.”

An error, or a conscious and vain hope that no one would notice? Regardless of the intent, the result is irrefutable. Nokia's stock price has plummeted 20 percent in the two days since the launch of the new phone. That could be because Nokia failed to disclose a release date or price for its new phone, meaning people can’t even choose to preorder it before the next iPhone takes the spotlight. It also was likely affected by the general lack of respect caused by the video. For a company trying to make headway in a market dominated by Apple and Samsung, this was a crushing blow.

That isn't even the end of it. Though the company has since amended the videos to include a disclaimer, Stephen Elop, the company’s chief executive, has asked the company’s chief ethics officer to look into the matter, according to a Nokia executive who declined to be named.

“Stephen learned about the situation upon landing in Finland from New York,” this executive said. “One of the first calls he made was to our chief ethics officer who immediately started an investigation. We are dealing with the situation swiftly, fairly and privately.”

No bueno Nokia.

To be clear, this wasn't marketing. This was lying. This helped push the idea that marketing is all lies, and that's what we in the marketing field (the honest ones at least) always try and avoid. The idea that "marketing" and "lying" are the same thing is bad for everyone, especially those of us who hold the ideas of consumer marketing near and dear to our hearts.

[Original Story via NYT]

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While I agree that what Nokia did was misleading and unacceptable, I am hesitant to blow this out of proportion.

This sort of thing is done by all companies. Do you really think Apple's Siri advertisements are using 100% verbatim responses from Siri? Absolutely not. I don't recall seeing a "simulated" disclaimer in their commercials, but nobody cries foul in that case. The same goes for ads showing the usability/UI of smartphone OS's, etc.

For camera manufacturers ... product shoots and demo photos often utilize a full professional lighting setup, etc. Again, I agree that what Nokia did is wrong and they are rightfully being called on it. But all companies represent their products in an overly positive light... and for any consumer to believe otherwise is naive.

KGB's picture

So, when you go out and but the Nokia Lumia PureView and wonder why you can't shoot anything even vaguely resembling the stuff they chose to pretend it can shoot, how you going to feel then?

Also, the open price for NOK on Sept 5 was $2.89. It is closing at $2.64 today. That is roughly an 8% drop, not nearly the 20% "plummet" that you reported in the article.

I'd attribute most of the drop as market reaction to the lack of pricing/schedule/carrier announcements, not a massive distrust of product quality over the marketing mistake. Nokia is producing top of the line smartphones with features not seen on any other devices in the market at this point.

Tam Nguyen's picture

 Well on Sept 4th NOK was at near $3, yesterday it closed at around $2.4, which is approx 20% drop if Jaron started writing this article yesterday.

Stats were straight from the NYT, so if there is something amiss I apologize on their behalf. 

Tam Nguyen's picture

 Nah, 20% sounds about right.

Vladimir Byazrov's picture

 You can't be sure it wasn't a mistake. What ever it was the phone is amazing anyway. So it's not like the vids ans pics were a total lie. They used professional production for this ads, as every company does.
Calm down already.