I-Zone

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VP-strategy and kids might sound like a funny title, but fun was the point when Sandy Lawrence introduced "Photoplay," a marketing strategy designed to turn a stagnant Polaroid Corp. into a growth company by targeting youth.

The word "kids" was added to her title of VP-strategy, and Ms. Lawrence, 50, set out to launch the I-Zone Instant Pocket Camera. The product was Polaroid's first new consumer product in more than 20 years.

The instant camera, designed for 12-to-17-year-olds and which produces stamp-sized photo stickers was the No. 1-selling camera in the U.S. when it launched in the fourth quarter of 1999. Of the 9.7 million instant cameras Polaroid sold last year, 4.5 million were sold in the fourth quarter, boosting net sales 20% in that period and contributing to a record-setting year for the company.

The sticky film "took it totally out of the realm of traditional photography," Ms. Lawrence says, making it a kid-specific product.

Today, demand is so high that Polaroid says it cannot satisfy orders until the second half of the year. Ms. Lawrence, who has been promoted to senior VP-global marketing, says her own experience as a mother helped her "walk in the moccasins of the children" and understand that irreverence is cool.

"I'm a very good listener and observer of what my targets are doing," says Ms. Lawrence, whose "in-house focus group" of three children in I-Zone's target demo helps her keep the focus on the fun.

The I-Zone launch was especially satisfying because it was the hardest, she says, since it required "bringing in a whole new generation of people and changing perceptions both internally and externally."

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