Blogs & Comment

Nortel's Terminator

File this under Weird: Nortel has produced a cartoon ad.
You can see it here, on YouTube, posted by “nortelvids” and aptly described as: “This fully animated piece follows a lonely robot as he finds an energy efficient Nortel oasis in a dark and dreary future world.”
A couple of things spring to mind. First off: Way to go Nortel for not exactly blowing the advertising budget! Considering the financial pressures they have (this morning, Lehman Brothers joined a conga-line of other analyst downgradesand slashed its price targetto US$6 from US$15.50, citing “several possible headwinds,” and in particular, the carrier networks division’s grim outlook for revenue growth), the idea of a crudely drawn cartoon with eerie background music posted to YouTube does seem more prudent than, say, a lavish network television ad blitz.
Mind you, the cartoon doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in Nortel’s professionalism, and the premise that Nortel will be the remaining bastion of technological hope is pretty funny. It’s almost too easy to mock.Have at it nonetheless.
Now, in case you think I spend time searching on YouTube for videos about Nortel, I don’t. Instead, I heard about it through Twitter: I followthe company’s Twitter profile, run by Texas-based employee Bo Gowan. He also manages the Nortel Buzzboardblog, where he explains in a post todaythat the “Robot” spot is the first of a series of videos he will be posting that were homemade by Nortel employees on their own time to “highlight Nortels green and energy efficiency benefits.” He’ll be posting more this week. And then….

Then the fun starts next Tuesday Ill post two brand new Nortel commercials (professional ones), bringing the video tally to five, and youll get to vote for your favorite video among all of them. Will the masses like the slick, professionally-created ads, or the YouTube-style spot that a random Nortel employee created at home on her Mac? Thats for you to decide.

And heres the really cool part. Whichever video wins the vote will be used as an actual online adas part of Nortels online advertising campaign! So as they say, your vote counts!

Oh goody.
Admittedly, this is completely irrelevant to all the many serious business challenges Nortel faces right now. (It recently made Motley Fool’s list of Deathbed stocks.) But it’s interesting to watch how the company is attempting to leverage (low-cost) social networking tools to promote the company. Several high-ranking executives, including Chief Technology Officer John Roese, have blogs, which come across as being pretty authentic and not just ghost written by public relations people. (Mark Evans, a Toronto-based bloggerand social media expert who used to cover Nortel as a reporter at the Financial Post, continues to tracks the company at All About Norteland seems to like its efforts. See other posts here, and here.)
But homemade videos as the source for an online ad campaign? Maybe those employees could better spend their personal time looking for alternative job prospects.