The absence of photo labs in Russia and an appreciation of the confidentiality of instant film even in today's post-KGB society have proved an unexpected boon.
Spectacular sales in Russia-a 50% hike to 6 million units from 1992 levels-have inspired Polaroid Europe, Paris, to embark on a rejuvenated marketing offensive across the continent.
The first step is an agency review currently underway for its estimated $30 million-to-$40 million western European account in a pitch pitting Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London; Publicis, Frankfurt, and CLM/ BBDO, Paris, against incumbent BDDP, Paris.
The winner is likely to get a shot at a hefty Russian budget.
"Currently, Eastern Europe is still handled separately, because instant photography has just been discovered there, and the competitive environment is dramatically different," said Olivier Danan, Polaroid's European marketing and advertising manager. But the situation changes fast, and if it makes sense, the Western European ad campaign will be used, he said.
Ogilvy & Mather, Moscow, created Polaroid's first campaign in Russia, which broke Oct. 3. The TV ad depicts a blooming relationship between a man and woman who film each other with different kinds of Polaroid cameras. The theme, "With Polaroid, you always have good memories," is illustrated by the couple's looking over their past through photos.
"We've been fighting to keep up with fantastic demand, which has developed without any advertising support," Mr. Danan said.
The previous Western Europe strategy, to acquaint consumers with Polaroid, is likely to change. "We want to reintroduce the emotional, fun benefits of instant photography," Mr. Danan said.
"We're stressing creativity for a lead European agency, because [it's] the main thing we need to provide centrally to all local Polaroid offices."