CAMPAIGNS: Product Launch - Polaroid pocket cam sticks with PR

Client: Polaroid (Cambridge, MA)

Client: Polaroid (Cambridge, MA)

Client: Polaroid (Cambridge, MA)

PR Team: Porter Novelli (New York)

Campaign: Launch of Polaroid I-Zone Instant Pocket Camera

Time Frame: June to December 1999

Budget: dollars 200,000

Even companies with long-standing brands must continually refresh their

images to appeal to new consumers entering the marketplace.

This challenge was particularly acute for Polaroid as it prepared to

launch its I-Zone instant pocket camera. While looking into why its

market share for personal cameras had dropped from 16% to 12% over the

previous year, the company found that teens and ’tweens’ no longer

considered the brand contemporary or relevant to their lifestyle.

’For years we’ve always had products - instant cameras - that were a

natural for that audience,’ says Arlene Henry, Polaroid’s marketing and

communications manager. ’We knew that consumers of that age group ’got’

our products. But we never really actively went after them.’


Polaroid and its agency, Porter Novelli, decided well in advance that

the I-Zone camera should be portrayed as a lifestyle accessory for the

age-five-to-19 ’Gen Y’ audience (the camera takes 1.5-inch by 1-inch

photos that, if the ’sticky’ film is used, can be used as stickers).

While advertising helped convey that message, PR ended up carrying much

of the early weight, since the camera reached shelves in September while

the TV campaign didn’t kick off until late in the fourth quarter.

Assessing which media outlets to target, as well as tailoring the pitch

specifically for the Gen Y audience, were the first steps for Polaroid

and Porter Novelli. ’They’re sensitive to commercial messages and

reluctant to accept being marketed to,’ explains Porter Novelli senior

VP Lisa Rosenberg.

’You have to look at them in a creative way.’

As part of this effort, Polaroid partnered with designer Todd Oldham and

agreed to sponsor the Backstreet Boys concert tour as a way of

piggybacking on cultural icons with built-in appeal for its target



Realizing that girls are far more avid users of cameras than boys,

Porter Novelli focused on magazines such as YM, Seventeen, CosmoGIRL!

and Jump, as well as Web sites such as and The

company packaged its press materials in a transparent mesh lunch box

that also contained an assortment of everyday kids’ favorites such as a

Backstreet Boys mini photo album, a Ricky Martin CD and a journal that

could be personalized with I-Zone photo stickers.

Porter Novelli also took advantage of the I-Zone’s low, sub-dollars 25

price point by pitching the product to toy editors.


Partly as a result of the PR campaign, the I-Zone became the top-selling

camera nationwide by early November - before the ad campaign kicked off

- and continued into the holiday season, according to Nielsen sales


To date, there have been more than 700 million media impressions for the

Polaroid I-Zone, including placements on programs such as Good Morning

America, the Today show, Fox and Friends and The Early Show. Since

Porter Novelli produced no B-roll footage, all these placements involved

hosts or guests demonstrating or commenting on the camera.

Print coverage included The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times

Syndicate, Parade, Newsweek and Entertainment Weekly.

More importantly, the decision to focus early on teen pubs resulted in

coverage in CosmoGIRL!, Flaunt, Seventeen and Nylon. The I-Zone was also

listed on’s ’Top 20 things we want’ and received prominent

placement on, and other sites.

The pitch to toy editors resulted in I-Zone’s inclusion on a number of

’Best of’ toy lists, including Dr. Toy’s ’100 best children’s products,’

Child Magazine’s ’best toys of the year’ and ’The Great American Toy



Polaroid continues to position the I-Zone as a lifestyle accessory while

striving to broaden its demographic appeal. It is launching new versions

of the I-Zone in multiple colors. It recently held a party in New York

with Oldham during which models paraded down a runway in Oldham designs

while carrying silver-colored I-Zone cameras.

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