Eastman Kodak Co. sold out of its initial 10,000 cameras by introducing Cameo Zoom Plus exclusively on the home shopping channel, a medium that Kodak had previously used only to sell off obsolete cameras. By April, when Cameo Zoom hit retail stores, a total of more than 30,000 already had been sold.
"I do admit it was above our expectations," says Jeff Hissink, who at the time of the launch was Kodak's brand manager for traditional cameras in the U.S.
Mr. Hissink was looking for an innovative marketing tool to explain and demonstrate some of Cameo Zoom Plus' features, such as the panoramic and portrait modes, not typically associated with 35 millimeter point-and-shoot cameras.
Using an infomercial-like format, Kodak was able to demonstrate the camera's ability to switch from normal, panoramic and zoom lense settings. And the home shopping forum fostered a dialogue between consumers and the company, because viewers were able to call the telephone number given on QVC and ask a Kodak representative questions.
The QVC hit was a boon to Mr. Hissink's career, too. Since Cameo Zoom's successful launch, Mr. Hissink, 37, has been promoted to director of business planning-worldwide for 35mm cameras.