Nokia plays antakshari with Asha

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Antakshari is a game still played among friends or family during leisure. It is one game that is unique to the country, thanks to Bollywood. Nokia has tapped this very aspect and partnered with RockeTalk, that is one of India’s largest mobile social networking applications and Maxus India, to launch Nokia Mobile Antakshari. Claiming to be the world’s first mobile reality gaming show, the application puts forth a near life-like Antakshari experience for the consumers.

Sameer Agarwal, CMO, RockeTalk, India.

Sameer Agarwal, CMO, RockeTalk, India.

Tuning in with Asha
Launched for the Nokia Asha series, users can sing, answer musical questions from all over the country, simultaneously and play for daily prizes. Sameer Agarwal, CMO, RockeTalk India says that RockeTalk is the largest mobile platform there is today in India, which works across all operators. “This venture is basically for the Nokia Asha series phones. The Nokia Asha 200 is all about music as this country enjoys music. The phone is unique in terms of audio. Now people can use this software and play from anywhere. People in Bangalore can play against Delhi etc. Nokia wants to reach the 8.6 million users of RockeTalk month on month in India,” adds Agarwal.

The mobile social network application where the user interacts through voice and video will allow users to record themselves and send it to their peers and friends. This whole exercise will be monitored by the application.

According to Agarwal, this campaign will help capture the minds of the consumers towards Nokia since they are launching many new models in the country. There is also involvement of social media platforms for Nokia Asha users that enables the consumers to challenge and compete with their peers and friends. Noika is also engaging its audience with radio spots on three different radio stations along with ATL activities.

Commenting on the launch, Viral Oza, Director Marketing, Nokia India says, “Nokia has been synonymous with digital music in this country. We have pioneered many initiatives in this space starting with pre-installed music, launch of music albums on mobile phones, Nokia Music Unlimited and now Mix Radio for our Lumia smartphones. Mobile Antakshari is an interesting concept and provided us with the perfect fit to connect consumers with Nokia Asha smart phones. Nokia Mobile Antakshari will enable millions of music lovers across the country to engage with their favorite game.”

Pushing sales of Asha
But is this a brand building exercise or a push for the sale of Asha phones? Peshwa Acharya, Technology Entrepreneur explains that it is basically a brand building activity. It is being used for building the product. Nokia is using this as a sense of engagement with its audience.

Tarun Pathak, Analyst, Cyber Media Research

Tarun Pathak, Analyst, Cyber Media Research

On the same lines Tarun Pathak, Analyist, Cyber Media Research says that Nokia has a taken up a new strategy, “They are no longer launching new feature phones but positioning Nokia as a maker of smart feature phones. It is trying to compete with the cheaper smartphones in the market that lie in the price range of Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000.”

Acharya too feels that this new application is catering to the Nokia Asha segment, which is basically a feature phone. “The Asha phone is trying to establish itself as a model that is more than just a feature phone. This joint venture has been created to create a differentiator for Asha phones and to push its sales,” he adds.

Not so smart?
In a recent report by CMR, Nokia was the market leader in the feature phone segment holding a 40.4 per cent share, while in the smartphone segment it was lagging behind with 25.5 per cent. The total Indian mobile market according to CMR crossed a whooping 50 million mark in the first quarter where Nokia remained the market leader with a 23 per cent share.

Pathak says that with Asha, Nokia has high hopes in the medium category but it still is not the leader in smartphone category. Asha has developed features and applications that can be compared to a smartphone but at the end of the days is still not a smartphone.

Peshwa Acharya, Technology Entrepreneur & Ex-CMO Reliance Communications

Peshwa Acharya, Technology Entrepreneur & Ex-CMO Reliance Communications

Even Agarwal agrees, “Today the major chunk of the people who use RockeTalk come from the age group of 18-35 years. Hence, it is the primary segment that we are targeting, which is the group that primarily uses the Nokia Asha series phones also. Right now 50,000 users have already played the game.”

Right notes
RockeTalk claims to have 8.6 monthly active users out of 16 million total users in the country. The application is available across all formats and the whole concept is around audio, video, picture messaging. People can hear the same voice in a different format on different platforms sent by a single user because RockeTalk claims to be compatible with all kinds of platforms. Also RockeTalk titles that Nokia is the largest OEM it caters to and is followed by Samsung in the Mobile market today.

“Nokia’s focus is now basically on social media platforms,” says Pathak. “Consumers are into content consumption therefore, the company is also focusing on social media content consumption. The TG for this is obviously the young consumer in the age category of 16 to 25. The younger generation is more inclined towards the usage of Smartphones. Anything that comes close to this category is accepted. Therefore the main aim for Nokia is to make many social media applications accessible,” he adds.

Nokia is trying to focus its core proposition for its Asha phones of ‘music and entertainment for everybody’. The mobile Antakshari will eventually give a chance to the user to be one of the shortlisted players to perform in the final round to an audience of more than 8.6 million users. The platform allows Nokia to ‘vital connect’ with over 2 lakh ‘deep engaged users’ and ‘passive connect’ with the rest.

Local appeal
In India Antakshari is well known as the people are music oriented because of Bollywood movies. One does not find this abroad. “Therefore by localising Nokia has made a good move. Nokia today is a brand that is catering to the masses. These are small ventures that the company undertakes to keep its presence constant in the market. A company which has its turnover in several crores can throw its weight around from time to time,” says Acharya.

Will the joint initiative work in favour of Nokia? “If we look at the market today Nokia has maybe one out of 10 campaigns unsuccessful because it has a strong brand equity. It does not take Nokia much time to connect with its audience because of its brand recall. Therefore, this venture will work out,” Pathak lastly adds.

On its part, Nokia is planning to extend this initiative into other feature phones as well as Smartphones in the near future.







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