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 React.com and MTV.com. 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 MTV.com’s ’Top 20 things we want’ and received prominent
placement on gURL.com, Sidewalk.com 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.