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Pomegranate phone? Nova Scotia ad budget goes to cellphone concept video

October 30, 2008 | 12:48 pm

Pomegranatephone Some may call it unrealistic: an ultra-thin, touch-screen cellphone with e-mail, Web browsing, GPS, a camera and a video projector. Throw in a coffee brewer, shaver and harmonica, and you have the Pomegranate NS08 phone.

The far-fetched concept isn't the brainchild of any cellphone manufacturers, nor a farce from recent mobile entrant Google -- a company known for such tech hoaxes as last year's sewage-powered wireless broadband service. The Pomegranate phone is part of a $300,000 ad campaign put together by Nova Scotia. Yes, that Nova Scotia, the small province in southeastern Canada.

The website is part of the Nova Scotian government's "Come to Life" ad campaign, which hopes to build interest in the province virally through nontraditional means, a spokesman for the campaign said in an e-mail. And an imaginary cellphone would certainly classify as nontraditional.

"We needed to find a unique way to get people focused on our province," another "Come to Life" representative, Stacey Jones-Oxner, said in an e-mail. "Since there is so much buzz out there around the newest and latest smartphones, we thought this was a good device to use. This is especially true when you consider that the people who are interested in the latest technology are often people involved in business and tend to be key influencers."

Jones-Oxner says they're trying to reach those with clout in cities such as Boston, Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary. OK, so why not just take out an ad in a local newspaper? "If you consider the amount of people we have reached and compare it to the cost of say a full-page ad in ONE of our target cities (approx $60,000) it is a solid investment," Jones-Oxner wrote.

The month-old website -- created entirely by Nova Scotian citizens, right down to where the website host server is located -- has received nearly 150,000 hits, with a majority of visitors also clicking through to the Nova Scotian government website. The campaign says it is pleased with the results so far and expects popularity to snowball in the future. "The great thing about a viral campaign like this one is that it has a long shelf life!" Jones-Oxner wrote.

Now, the real question is how long until I can actually play the harmonica solo from "Blowin' in the Wind" on my cellphone?

-- Mark Milian

Photo of the Pomegranate NS08 by Nova Scotia's "Come to Life."

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