To broaden its user base to Internet-savvy kids and teens, Polaroid will make its new I-Zone the centerpiece of its new effort. Five spots breaking Oct. 18 support that product, a tiny camera designed for 12-to-17-year-olds. Another breaks Dec. 6 supporting a "12:01" millennium promotion that offers $12.01 rebates on certain Polaroid cameras. The remaining commercial backs instant camera JoyCam, priced inexpensively to attract teens and young adults.
HIGHEST SPENDING IN A DECADE
Polaroid wouldn't give specific spending figures, but said its fourth-quarter worldwide blitz would receive its largest budget in a decade. In the U.S., Polaroid spent $28 million in the first half of this year, close to its entire $34 million budget in '98, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The campaign breaks in the fourth quarter in Europe and Australia; Polaroid adds Latin America and Asia-Pacific in the first quarter of next year.
Brian Poggi, Polaroid VP-general manager, North America, said targeting the youth market is part of the company's strategy to draw in new users. The company's sales decreased 14% last year to $1.8 billion.
"We want new, younger users as we move into the digital world," Mr. Poggi said, adding that the kids "know what to do with the pictures -- they scan them over the Internet."
SHADES WITH TEEN APPEAL
In such teen-appealing shades as "radical red, bright breezy blue or cool lime green," the petite I-Zone is about the size of a small cell phone and creates postage-stamp-size, self-developing color photos or photo stickers.
"We did a lot of research and found that this group wants to be in control," Mr. Poggi said. The principle is: "I take. I make. It's my zone."
JoyCam weighs 10 ounces and is a less expensive version of the standard Polaroid OneStep instant camera. At $24.99 for the JoyCam and $9.99 for 10 color exposures of Polaroid's 500 film, Polaroid thinks the price is right for the coveted 12-to-24-year-old age group.
The JoyCam spot, from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, shows young people snapping pictures in active settings such as food fights and dance parties, ending with the slogan: "Whatever brings you joy."
The five spots, also by Goodby, for I-Zone highlight the photo-sticker feature, which the marketer considers to be the biggest attraction for kids. One :30 shows a bunch of teens snapping photos of each other making wacky faces, then cuts to reveal they've stuck them all over the faces of foosball players to make the match more interesting.
A :15 shows two close-up photos -- one of a girl, the other of a guy -- bouncing up and down to music. A wider shot reveals the two photos are moving because they're stuck to a guy's bare chest muscles as he flexes.
The I-Zone commercials will run on programming including "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Dawson's Creek" and on cable channels MTV, VH1 and the Comedy Channel.
Polaroid has high hopes for I-Zone, which has made its way into retail chains unusual for the category, including F.A.O. Schwarz, Toys "R" Us and Warner Bros. Stores on the strength of buzz created by Polaroid's sponsorship of a Backstreet Boys concert tour and giveaways in teen magazines.
Even before Polaroid begins its TV surge with "ads every night until the end of the year," Mr. Poggi claims it "can't make the cameras fast enough" to keep up