Global Newsmaker: Jon Pollock

Polaroid COO Jon Pollock tells PRWeek Global why the brand's tie-up with Lady Gaga will not be a mistake of Tiger Woods proportions.

Jon Pollock
Jon Pollock

Polaroid turned heads at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, when it named pop superstar Lady Gaga as creative director. The move is part of a rebranding drive that also sees the company appoint US agency Atomic PR.

PRWeek Global speaks to Polaroid COO Jon Pollock.

How did CES go?

I am still recovering. I have been associated with CES for many years and have been with Polaroid for the past four, and this blew away all of our previous announcements. There are a couple of key indicators of how successful you were at the show. One is if your cabbie driving you back to the airport mentions that Polaroid has a partnership with Lady Gaga without you talking about it. Even my grandma called me about it.

Tell the truth: are you fan of Lady Gaga?

Before I began this engagement, around 60 days ago, I knew of her. A couple of her songs are pretty catchy. As I get to know her more, I'm more and more of a fan. She's a real artist, she's passionate about the creative elements and the other great thing is she is all about her fan base. She's a Polaroid fan so we love her for that too. We looked at the relationship and kept peeling back the onion to see where we could take it from the standard corporate endorsement that nobody likes.

What is wrong with ‘standard corporate endorsement'?

Tiger Woods. We were basically negotiating this deal as Tiger Woods' empire was crumbling. An endorsement deal for an endorsement deal's sake is superficial: hold up the camera and smile. Lady Gaga wears her life on her sleeve. She doesn't apologise for her lifestyle - we want her to be who she is because that's who fans have fallen in love with. The problem with Tiger is he lived two different lifestyles - that's hypocritical and not what people want to see.

What is the biggest PR challenge you are facing?

The amazing thing is to have an asset in the brand. There's global recognition - we hold our own against the top 20 recognised brands. Affinity is off the charts. The challenge we have is how do we make it relevant for younger, future generations? How do we span that digital divide?

Which media can you not live without?

I just got my Kindle for Christmas and I have all my subscriptions on there: WSJ, USA Today. I'm moving away from hardcopy. My fix will come via my Kindle. My websites are more on the tech side. In terms of broadcast, I live and die by my DVR, although there are a couple of really good commercials that I stop in mid-fast-forward to view.

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