Interview: Behind the scenes with Nokia #Switch Comics

selena-harrrington#Switch Comics is something a little different from Nokia. A weekly comic-strip following the exploits of its two lead characters, the Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820. As the series draws to a close we chat with one of the idea drivers behind the concept to see how it’s changed notions of media marketing.

#Switch Comics has been running on the Nokia UK Facebook page over the last few months, bringing a rye sense of humour to what could otherwise be a dry subject – what makes Nokia smartphone technology truly standout from the competition.

We spoke to Selena Harrington, who is Digital Marketing Manager at Nokia UK, about the concepts behind the series and how it all came together.

NokNok: What was the original idea behind #Switch Comics?

Selena Harrington: With some of the best phones on the market we were in a prime position to validate why our Nokia Lumia 920 & 820 handsets would be credible alternatives to competitive devices currently on the market. We wanted to show off our devices’ best features socially.

Instead of simply uploading an infographic onto Facebook that would give our audience a quick lay of the land, we wanted to engage our audience and give them proof points that they could share with their friends. The question was, “How do we do that?” As a result, #Switch Comics was born, a weekly comic strip that humorously highlights one of the Lumia’s key features at a time. Our mandate was simple – make each cartoon funny, relevant and easy to share.

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NN: How did you go about creating the comic strip?

SH: In conjunction with the creative team at Wunderman, and together with an illustrator from Jelly London we came up with, and produced, the comic strips.

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NN: Are there any over-arching themes you wanted to explore?

SH: We simply wanted to show off the ‘coolest and best’ features of our Lumia devices, such as our offline maps, low-light photography, image stabilization, polycarbonate bodies, wireless charging, the amazing colour variations and our gorilla glass screens to name but a few.

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NN: The graphics seem to have gotten slicker with each instalment. Is this deliberate or just the illustrator finding their stride?

SH: From the very beginning of the project we always intended the cartoons to have a variety of different styles, after all humour is subjective and we wanted to ensure that we covered off all the bases. After much online searching we found two illustrative styles that we really liked, it turns out they belonged to the same illustrator.

We were working to an agile process, listening and reacting to what was going on in the world around us, as we developed the weekly strips, different comic strands started to emerge (the animal series for instance), so our illustrator adapted his style according to the strand he was working on.

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NN: The art has an old-school style about it, which counter-balances the cutting-edge of the Nokia Lumia phones – was this intentional?

SH: We deliberately wanted to juxtapose the look and feel of the Lumia advertising in order to create cut through on our social channels.

We didn’t want our comic strips to look like Nokia ads as people are less likely to share corporate advertising features. A funny cartoon on the other hand, well that’s another story altogether, and something that is readily shareable. People like sharing fun things!

NN: Do the phones have individual characters?

SH: The phones definitely have different characters, the Nokia Lumia 920 is ‘the daddy’ of the series, while the Lumia 820 is a bit more of a party animal. However, they most definitely share the same DNA.

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NN: Now the series is drawing to an end, what do you think you’ve learnt from it?

SH: There are a lot of reasons why people share content online – and one thing we quickly realised was that, above all else, everyone loves to share things they like and find funny, and that theory was borne out in our cartoon series!

NN: Has it connected with audiences in the way you wanted it to?

SH: We definitely exceeded our expectations, the first comic spread organically to 40 sites within a day. Most tellingly of all are the comments we’re getting (including our competitors’ bloggers) such as “This actually made me laugh, and I can see that this is just a bit of harmless fun designed to show off some of the cooler features of Nokia’s phones. Nothing wrong with this whatsoever.” from Today’s iPhone and “I really like this brand of advertising seeing how it’s simple, funny and gets the point across without any BS, well done Nokia.” from My Nokia Blog.

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If you’ve missed out on #Switch Comics you can follow the Pinterest link for the full series or check them out on the Nokia UK Facebook Page.