Camera demonstration on a Nokia Lumia 808 Pure View smartphone. (Getty Images)
"[T]here was no intention to mislead ... we apologize for the misunderstanding."

So said a Nokia (NOK) spokesperson in response to revelations that marketing materials for its forthcoming Lumia 920 smartphone were, at best, misleading. The terms "fake," "fraudulent," and "deceptive" were used by some outlets covering the cellular scandal.

Whatever you call it, this kind of publicity is the last thing the mobile-handset giant needs right now.

There are two marketing pieces in question for Nokia:

• Shaky camera-work attribution: The first is a video that was released on YouTube promoting the new mobile phone, featuring footage presumably shot by the built-in new PureView camera. The PureView camera is designed with technology to stabilize images: to make them more professional in appearance. As it turns out, the footage was more than just professional in appearance: It was actually professionally shot, with a significantly more substantial video camera and professional lighting.

• Fuzzy snapshot sources: The second item of contention is some still photography that was highlighted in Nokia marketing materials that, again, was presumably shot with the Lumia 920's PureView camera, but was again professionally done.

"In an effort to demonstrate the benefits of optical image stabilization ... we produced a video that simulates what we will be able to deliver with OIS," said Nokia spokeswoman Heidi Lemmetyinen. "[H]indsight is 20/20, but we should have posted a disclaimer stating this was a representation of OIS only."

Explosions Not Included

The Verge, an online magazine that covers technology, broke the video story on Sept. 5. The Nokia video features a girl riding a bicycle with a friend, who is presumably shooting the girl you're seeing on a Lumia 920. But at one point, you can clearly see the reflection in a passing window of a man shooting the video of her from a van with a big, professional camera.

Whoops. Many, many people at Nokia must have watched this video over and over, and none caught this. Heads are likely rolling around Nokia headquarters right now, as well as at the ad agency or production company that shot and edited the video. Of course, this isn't the first time -- and it won't be the last -- that a company either intentionally or unintentionally slips something by the public in an ad.

As consumers, hopefully we're all realistic and experienced enough to know better than to believe everything we hear or see in an ad. I learned that lesson when my mother would turn down the TV volume when a G.I. Joe commercial -- with all the cool explosion sounds and other special effects -- came on and say: "Just so you understand, that's what the toy is going to be like when you get it home." It was a tough lesson for an 11-year-old boy to learn, but a useful one.

Let the Buyer (and Manufacturer) Beware

As it loses more and more of its smartphone market share every day to the likes of Apple (AAPL) and Samsung, Nokia is bleeding money, and is staking everything on the success of its line of Windows 8-driven Lumia smartphones.

Nokia obviously didn't know about the filming gaffe, but it knew what it was doing otherwise in releasing the video. The company probably did consider posting a disclaimer, but then thought, well, the PureView camera really will be as great as what we're showing in the video, so what's the harm?

Potentially terrible PR like this is the harm, with the attendant potentially terrible effect on sales.

While we still live largely in a world of "buyer beware," in this case, depending on the scale and viciousness of the public's -- and potential Lumia 920 buyers' -- reaction, the better cliche might be something along the lines of "manufacturer beware."

John Grgurich is a regular contributor to The Motley Fool. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Intro to Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

If I was a Buyer Of a Nokia Phone I would Take this Artical with a Grain of Salt . Because Clearly The Motley fool has a very good reason to post articals against Nokia . Out Of Their Own statement They say they are share holders In Apple so I My self would not and could not In all Fairness Accept what they are saying as Fact for the consumers Protection against Nokia. a Scandaless post hurts Nokia But on the other hand helps Apple a company they Just so happen to be part owner In. you the consumers test the product then and only then Make your minds up.

September 13 2012 at 8:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Apple iOS UI is almost 5 years old!!

Time to move on to a new platform!!

Windows 8!!

September 13 2012 at 4:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It seems odd you were able to find the Verge article where they found out the images weren't actually taken with the Lumia 920, but not the one where they actually put it to the test and it beat every other phone.

Compared to what Apple just announced the Lumia 920 is a groundbreaking phone.

September 12 2012 at 10:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

after seeing what apple is offering.... NOKIA looks realy good

September 12 2012 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

DAILY FINANCE! shame on you for re-posting and perpetuating this, just to lower nokia's stock and increase apple's. just cus u own apple stock it does not mean you should exaggerate another company's mistakes. i understand when lay people do this but you are the press for goodness sakes. have some shame and dignity.

September 12 2012 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to whistleblower's comment

Shame AND dignity?!!! You are asking toooooo much.

September 12 2012 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply