OLYMPUS' NEW ADS ZOOM IN

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Olympus America, battling Canon USA and Pentax Corp. for dominance of the $6 billion compact point-and-shoot zoom lens camera market, aims to help itself by introducing the Infinity SuperZoom 2800.

Olympus hopes the SuperZoom 2800 will build market share and strengthen its zoom lens product line. A recent entry, the Stylus Zoom, is positioned as a zoom lens starter model.

For the 2800, being introduced this month, "The idea is to attract those who already own a zoom lens camera and now are ready to step up," said David Willard, Olympus VP-marketing communications. "We'd like to expand the category."

The Olympus products are featured in two new 30-second executions of the $5 million "Never miss another O" campaign from DDB Needham Worldwide, New York. The spots broke May 3 during NBC's "Country Music Awards."

The advertising centers on special occasions and impromptu photo opportunities, never mentioning Olympus' technology, features or pricing.

Mr. Willard called the new creative "more impactful" than previous executions.

Canon's "MAXimize your fun" campaign for the Sure Shot Zoom Max camera also starts this month. The effort from Grey Advertising prominently features nostalgic picture-taking opportunities.

Pentax this fall is expected to start an estimated $7 million campaign supporting IQ Zoom cameras, from recently appointed Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis.

The IQ Zoom 115 camera will be backed by TV spots. Print ads will support its remaining five cameras, including an as yet unannounced new model.

Pentax executives refused to discuss the new campaign or the zoom lens camera, citing competition.

Zoon lens cameras are the fastest-growing segment of the highly competitive 35mm category. Zoom lens sales have slowed since their introduction, but are expected to jump 12% this year, compared with 8% growth for the lens shutter category.

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