SLR FOES' ADS WILL SHIFT FROM FEATURES TO IMAGE

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A declining market has prompted single-lens-reflex camera marketers to seek a new ad approach.

This month, Minolta Corp. and Nikon picked two creative agencies, Lois/USA, New York, and Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis (AA, May 9), to develop respective image campaigns.

Previously, the marketers' ads focused on camera features, but those features are becoming more and more similar.

"Changes in the industry didn't cause us to look for a new agency; they caused us to look for a different type of agency," said Jerry Grossman, Nikon general manager of communications.

Ammirati & Puris, New York, handled the marketer's account for nearly eight years.

Nikon chose Fallon for its $7 million account because the shop is "an aggressive agency with a reputation for strong creative," Mr. Grossman said.

According to the Photo Marketing Association, SLRs account for 21.8% of the relatively flat $1.58 billion camera industry. SLR sales, on the decline for a decade, are expected to show a 33% drop to 600,000 units for 1993.

With Nikon, Minolta and Canon USA neck and neck for the No. 1 spot in market share, Nikon and Minoltapressured their agencies to create campaigns that project a loftier image.

"It's going to be a creative battle," said Dave Scofield, director of advertising at Minolta.

The company moved its camera account from Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis, and copier account from Bozell, New York. The consolidated business is worth about $7 million.

Canon, the third major SLR player, has stayed with Grey Advertising. Canon has been a consistent SLR advertiser, but had no immediate new advertising plans.

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