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Kodak gives new dimension to card

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Eastman Kodak Co. has marketed its 3-D imaging technology to consumers since the 1930s, plastering it on collectors' cards for everything from Major League Baseball players to "Mission: Impossible 2," Tom Cruise's latest spymaster takeoff. Now the company is aiming this technology at a b-to-b audience.

Kodak Dynamic Imaging, an Eastman Kodak unit, is in the middle of a broad direct marketing campaign to expand awareness among marketers of its Kodamotion special effects-essentially, supercharged 3-D technology.

Kodamotion, on which Eastman Kodak owns some 50 patents, allows for several seconds of film to be captured on a two-dimensional surface. Images on the trading card-sized surface appear to move with a flick of the wrist.

Eastman Kodak is trying to sell marketing agencies and corporate marketing departments on the technology as a unique way to target executives. Central to the Rochester, N.Y.-based giant's effort is direct marketing.

Good response rate

Kodak Dynamic Imaging first began direct marketing Kodamotion with a 30,000-piece drop last November. It contained an introduction to the technology, its benefits to b-to-b marketers and a sample card depicting a snarling Doberman pinscher whose fangs snapped when the card was rotated. While a 2% response rate can be considered good for a b-to-b campaign, the Kodamotion effort generated a 5% response rate.

"We were hoping for 1%. We were blown away," said Barbara Mather, director of marketing for Eastman Kodak's Entertainment Imaging division, of which Kodak Dynamic Imaging is part.

Its second drop, which included a card featuring a kayaker, was mailed out last May. So far it has generated a 3% response rate, though Kodak Dynamic imaging is still getting queries on it.

Another drop, which will contain a card featuring a contortionist, will go out in December. Kodak Dynamic Imaging will concentrate on marketing agencies in cities where it has not received a satisfactory response rate to date, including Dallas, Mather said. The best response rates have been among marketing agencies in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, she said.

Kodak Dynamic Imaging executives used offline direct marketing to spearhead Kodamotion's b-to-b push because it allowed the unit to showcase the technology. "It creates the greatest impact for us," Mather said. "For getting out to marketers, it's the most effective way to communicate. We could have just sent them to our Web site, but you don't get the full impact unless you hold it in your hands."

The pricing on Kodamotion cards varies widely, based on the amount ordered. It ranges from $1.06 per piece for an order of 20,000 or less to 76 cents each for 100,000 or more. The minimum order is 5,000.

A recent independent report from The PreTesting Co. Inc. showed that Kodamotion images are more than four times more effective than traditional ads at capturing readers' attention.

Pharmaceutical giant Astra-Zeneca plc is among the b-to-b clients that have begun using the Kodamotion technology. Sales representatives of the London-based company, which markets drugs in the U.S., have been handing out Kodamotion cards for doctors touting heartburn medication Prilosec. The cards depict a hiker leaping into the air against a Western background.

The Prilosec program's success has been marked, Mather said. "We're on our fourth order of cards for AstraZeneca," she said. "Doctors stick them in their pockets and leave them with other physicians."

Kodak Dynamic Imaging's push comes as its parent struggles to morph from a lumbering analog film company to a leaner, digital-centric player. Late last month, Eastman Kodak announced it would go from a seven-unit structure to a two-unit one, with commercial and consumer divisions.

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