Kel Kelly

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Nortel’s Release Yells

September 9, 2008 8:12 PM

I am watching CNN. In the last fifteen minutes, Nortel’s commercial, The Cisco Energy Tax, has played four times. I’ve seen the commercial before, but I didn’t really understand it so I initially zoned out. However, seeing a media flight that includes the same spot four times in fifteen minutes is somewhat unusual, so it grabbed my attention.

I did a quick Google search on ”The Cisco Energy Tax” and pulled up a Marketwire press release on the subject. The headline was somewhat scandalous and exclaimed “Cisco Energy Tax” Costs Companies an Estimated $6.1 Billion Over Five Years. I quickly scanned the release and noticed a lot of exclamation marks, as if someone was yelling to make the point. Exclamation marks are not something used in a typical press release. Most media would not take an exclamation ridden release seriously. Then I noticed there were two YouTube videos embedded in the release. While I thought this was totally cool, I couldn’t imagine that a publicly traded company like Nortel [NYSE/TSX: NT] would issue such a controversial, in-your-face (Cisco) release. I thought it must have been a joke or something. I was wrong. When I went to News section of Nortel’s website and there is was for all to see. Holy crap, Nortel actually issued this release. Wow!

Just to make sure the release screams Web 2.0′s power to the people like no other publicly traded company has screamed before, Nortel encourages people to visit the Nortel blog Buzzboard to vote for the video they like best and the winning video will be featured in an online advertisement in October. Shazaam!  A press release with two YouTube videos and a contest based on user-generated voting that’s hosted on a blog is a Web 2.0 trifecta. Yeah baby, yeah!

While Nortel wraps the premise of the release around announcing the expansion of the ad campaign, make no mistake, this is an in-your-face bitch slap on Cisco. I kinda love it.

What do you think of the release?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

10 Comments on “Nortel’s Release Yells”

  1. David Cooperstein Says:

    Honestly, I am not a huge fan of the “Press release touting the ad campaign” in the spirit of attempting to make it real news. If something is viral, and you can prove it, write about it then. You’re the PR and marketing expert on that one.

    However, I do like the face that they, NORTEL, used the 2.0 tools to get some viral effort going. Not sure how Cisco will feel about it (that’s for those other hired guns – the lawyers – to figure out) but kudos to Nortel for making an attempt to appear hip. Um, who is their audience?

  2. Kel Says:

    david, i agree that releases announcing ad campaigns are not news. kick-ass results following the campaign launch would be the real news. however, cisco has had a halo over its brand for over a decade and nortel has felt the heat. i think the essence of the campaign relative to the “cisco energy tax” is brilliant. it’s a great way to get companies to rethink their habitual purchases of cisco products and position nortel in a positive light. my guess is their audience on a cnn media buy is the cxo (cio, cfo, ceo) who has overall financial/budget responsibility.

  3. Bo Gowan - Nortel Says:

    Hey Kel – glad you liked what we were doing with this campaign. The strategy might not be right for every company’s situation, but it’s working for us.

    The direct message has grabbed the attention of the industry, and the enthusiasm of our employees (who helped create some of the YouTube videos that are being voted on).

  4. Kel Says:

    first of all i want to be named “bo.” how cool is that?! i really respect the nortel employees behind the campaign and release. having worked as an officer at a $2.5 billion networking company, i know it’s a herculean effort to get people to think differently and support out-of-the-box strategies like the campaign and release strategy you employed here. two snaps & a circle to you and your peeps. i would imagine you’ve ignited energy in the industry and inside the company. tell your execs a very influential blogger says you all deserve a raise. haha!

    thanks for taking the time to comment bo.

  5. Bob Gaughan Says:

    Kel- just to let you know – you have become a big hero in our marketing org :)


  6. Kel Says:

    omg bob! i read your name and shouted. “no way!” how the hell are you? not surprised you are still there. how would the vast majority of the world understand networking without your ability to break it down into laypeople’s terms. nortel did a great job with this. i hope the team gets credit for taking steps towards expanding the nortel brand into a hipper, more contemporary light. seriously. i loved it. are you still living in ma? hope our paths cross at some point. we are moving the biz to great new space in boston by the end of the year. look me up if you’re ever in the area.

  7. Bob Gaughan Says:

    I work out of my house in Weston – happy to get together. I don’t get out to Westborough very often – but if I do – I will stop by.

    And – when you move into Boston – let me know where/when.

  8. Phyllis Brock Says:

    Hi Kel,
    I just came across your blogs. Great reading them….especially about your reaction to Nortel’s ad campaign! Hope all is well.
    Best regards,

  9. Kel Says:

    phyllis! so fun to hear from you. lots of therapy has helped me get over my days in telecom. lol! hope all is well in your world. thinking of you brings a big smile to my face.

  10. CimbPhibrarak Says:

    Fantastic post:D I will come back:D

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