HP PhotoSmart: Jeff Hopper

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It was a simple plan: use a unified brand message and targeted advertising focused on key consumer attributes to drive retail sales. The results were picture perfect. Hewlett-Packard Co.'s PhotoSmart 315 was the best selling digital camera at retail at the end of 2000.

"We targeted the mainstream and gave people what they need in terms of value, quality, affordability and interoperability with a PC and printer, and not just bells and whistles," says Jeff Hopper, 39, director of marketing for digital imaging at Hewlett-Packard.

Admittedly late to market with its 2000 debut, the PhotoSmart 315 ($299) and the 215 ($199) used strong HP brand marketing and a push to deliver low-cost quality to an industry rife with high-price models, Mr. Hopper says.

The debut of the 315 "caught many digital camera vendors off-guard, and they were not prepared with a competitive product for the holiday season," notes InfoTrends Research Group. By December, the 315 had become the top-selling model in consumer electronics and computer superstore channels, InfoTrends reports, and in February, the 315 was second and the 215 had reached fifth in sales, according to NPD Intellect.

Digital cameras are hot. In 2001, the market was expected to climb 55%, topping 9.4 million units, InfoTrends says.

HP's cameras-like its printers, scanners and other peripheral devices-share a common tag: "HP invent." The strategy "links things together and makes a more consistent message," Mr. Hopper says.

PhotoSmart ads from Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, run in trade magazines and some consumer publications, with heavy support from retailers, says Mr. Hop-per, who was named director in February 1999, following his role as marketing manager for the small business products line.

"It clicks," he says. "People respond to that. I'm always amazed how it's not rocket science."

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