POLAROID HIKES BUDGET TO STAY RELEVANT

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Polaroid Corp. hopes to reinvigorate itself by introducing up to 25 new consumer and professional products this year -- the most in its history.

At least three of the new lines are aimed at recapturing camera sales to young people, including the U.S. debut of a camera tied to the Spice Girls, an Expressions line specifically aimed at kids ages 9 to 12 and the Wave camera for the 12-to-17-year-old age group.

"There is a generation out there who don't think Polaroid is relevant," said Allison Corcoran, VP-marketing North America at Polaroid, which is hiking ad spending 25% this year to $40 million behind a youth-focused ad campaign that broke earlier this month from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.

`NEVER TALKED TO KIDS'

"We cut our advertising way back for years; we never talked to [kids]; and there were no new products," she said, adding, "Sometimes it's amazing our business stayed as large as it did."

After a European success, Polaroid debuted the SpiceCam (a pink-and-purple version of its OneStep) for the U.S. at the Photo Marketing Association convention earlier this month. The company is deliberating about bringing over a fall 1997 TV campaign from Polaroid's European agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London.

By midyear, the Expressions camera line will be introduced with a dedicated TV campaign from Goodby. The cameras will use standard film or the newly introduced Alter Image film, which can be drawn on. By the holiday season, Polaroid will unveil the Wave, a smaller camera that creates credit-card-size images with sticky backing for affixing to notebooks and the like.

IMAGE SIZE

Image size will also figure into a new camera for adults. By mid-November, Polaroid is introducing the first instant single-use camera line, PopShots, with a $20 million campaign from Goodby targeting 18-to-34-year-olds. One camera puts out postage-stamp-size images alone and another uses both instant and 35 millimeter film. They will be priced competitively with existing single-use cameras.

Polaroid isn't alone in its pursuit of youth. Eastman Kodak Co. is also in seeking out the demographic, testing targeted advertising and products in Europe (AA, Feb. 16).

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