Nikon takes media outlets on field trip to promote new camera

The media field trip to Palm Springs, California gave attendees hands-on experience with the Nikon D500, prior to worldwide availability.

Image via Nikon
Image via Nikon

Company: Nikon
Campaign: Nikon D500 Palm Springs Adventure
Agency: MWW
Duration: May 10-13, 2016
Budget: N/A

Nikon used an immersive media field trip to engage key media editors and help drive conversation about its new flagship DSLR camera: Nikon D500.

Since the introduction of the Nikon D300S in 2009, photography buffs have eagerly awaited its successor – another enthusiast-level camera stacked with pro-level features at an affordable price point.

In May 2016, Nikon released the new flagship DX-format DSLR D500. The campaign team created an experiential media trip that provided an exclusive, hands-on experience for editors with the new camera. The program was designed to showcase product benefits and demonstrate the capabilities of the camera through challenging activities.

MWW was tasked with creating and maintaining buzz for the product from its announcement at CES 2016 in January to retail availability in May.

Through Nikon's research and conversations with key media, the campaign team learned that consumers looking to buy a DSLR camera often read reviews from a number of different outlets. Their final choice, however, is based on sample images and visual content made available to them.

The challenge was that even positive of reviews of DSLR cameras often showcase generic studio images or lackluster content that can fail to "wow" a reader or inspire potential buyers to purchase a camera.

"Our main goal was to generate widespread media coverage from key outlets that influence consumer purchasing," said Lisa Baxt, associate general manager, communications, Nikon. "We wanted an engaging experience for editors to have fun, test the camera, and become educated about product benefits and Nikon’s commitment to bringing a great product to market."

Additionally, the campaign team aimed to spur positive product reviews, highlight key differentiating features, and position the D500 as a worthy successor to the D300S.

MWW and Nikon organized a fully immersive media field trip program to Palm Springs, California that gave attendees hands-on experience with the Nikon D500 prior to worldwide availability. The program was designed to showcase the key strengths and specifications of the camera, while engaging editors in photo trade, technology, and consumer lifestyle verticals.

Activities included a trip to the The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens to highlight image quality and a variety of Nikkor lenses; a Jeep tour of the San Andreas fault; skateboarding and polo demonstrations that put the camera’s speed and autofocus ability to the test; astrophotography at Joshua Tree National Park, as well as panning and continuous shooting practice at BMW M School.

The key to any experiential event, explained Tara Naughton, EVP, Northeast consumer practice leader at MWW, is to think through best and worst case scenarios and ensure site checks are conducted thoroughly.

"We worked very carefully to factor in weather, lighting and the position of the sun, time constraints to access locations, travel time, and ensuring down time for editors to download," she said. "High temperatures were challenging in Palm Springs, so we planned for early morning starts, increased our water supply to keep media hydrated, and included night time shooting activities to avoid the heat."

MWW and Nikon secured 14 media attendees, ranging from a wide variety of media outlets, including: Popular Photography, Digital Photography Review, Imaging-Resource, Outdoor Photographer, Shutterbug, Steve’s Digicams, Rangefinder, PC Magazine, Digital Trends, Resource Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, Backpacker, Outside Magazine, and Cool Hunting.

The PR team has secured 14 media placements to-date directly resulting from the experiential trip. This earned the campaign more than 25 million media impressions, measured across both social and traditional outlets.

Coverage surpassed expectations, with the camera earning editorial accolades including:

  • DP Review Gold Award: 91% rating the highest ever for a Nikon camera
  • PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award: 4.5/5 – "Excellent" Rating
  • Digital Trends Editors’ Choice Award: 9/10 Rating
  • The highest score given to any product ever by Resource Magazine: 9.7/10

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