Camera makers aim to snap up teens' attention

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As part of its first-ever year-round advertising effort, supported by an unprecedented $40 million ad budget, Polaroid Corp. today breaks a global TV campaign for its teen-targeted I-Zone instant pocket camera.

The four new I-Zone spots targeting 12- to 17-year-olds follow closely on the heels of new ads that broke last month for Polaroid's JoyCam, an instant camera aimed at young adults.

Rival camera marketer Eastman Kodak Co., meanwhile, breaks a new campaign next week for its MAX Flash one-time-use camera, the featured product in the company's five-year, $75 million Generation Y push.

The Polaroid I-Zone ads, from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, focus on what can be done with the postage stamp-sized photo stickers produced by the pocket camera. The strategy for the creative was to answer the unspoken question, "Where will you stick it?" said Chet Harding, group marketing manager at Polaroid.

The spots--to run on networks including ABC, NBC, MTV and the WB, and roll out in Europe and possibly Japan later this year--rely on music, not dialogue. "We came up with the idea of using the pictures as a language," said Robert Riccardi, partner and director of account management at Goodby.


One 30-second spot called "Hallway" shows a teen-age boy walking down a busy school corridor, as other kids say hello to him through pictures of themselves waving, smiling or giving the thumbs-up sign that they've stuck to various objects including a boy's bald head, a ski cap and an orange. "The way they're greeting each other is all through pictures," Mr. Harding said.

Kodak is taking a broader approach with its MAX Flash ads, aiming "to make everyday picture-taking and picture-sharing intrinsic to teen socialization," said Eric Lent, director of marketing, one-time-use cameras and youth marketing at Kodak.

The MAX Flash campaign includes three TV spots and four print executions, all from the Kid Connection division of Saatchi & Saatchi, New York. Ads will break throughout the year with launches in May, early summer and at back-to-school. Print will run in teen magazines including Teen, Seventeen, Teen People and CosmoGirl.

The Kodak spot breaking May 8 called "Flash Him" is "girl-power epitomized," Mr. Lent said. The 30- and 15-second versions, to air on prime-time network TV and syndication, show three teen girls walking down the street to the beat of funky music. One girl notices a good-looking boy approaching, and as they pass each other, she takes her one-time-use camera out of her purse and snaps a picture of him. The puzzled boy turns around, and the girl walks on with a confident smile. The voice-over says, "Make eye contact, and when he least expects it, flash him."

The end shot shows the MAX Flash camera surrounded by photos of the boy and girl together. The tagline is "Grab one and hold on."

The creative strategy, said Saatchi's Chief Creative Officer Tod Seisser, was to "move it away from the sentimental, memory machine and turn it into a fun, active play thing."


One of the objectives, Mr. Lent said, is "to make [the MAX Flash] an essential accessory" while communicating that it's "a catalyst to fun."

Polaroid is also pushing the camera-as-accessory message by seasonally launching new I-Zone colors while phasing out others, almost like fashion items. The TV ads breaking today highlight the just-launched silver version in the closing seconds of the spots.

Both camera marketers said the size, growth potential and dynamic of the teen market led them to focus on this demographic. According to research company Teenage Research Unlimited, the 31 million U.S. teens spent $153 billion in 1999.

"With girls in particular, there really is a great market for Kodak and Polaroid, because taking pictures is something that girls love," said Shannon McClowry, research coordinator at Teenage Research. She said 89% of teen girls, who spend an average of $91 a week, rate picture-taking as an "in" activity.

Moreover, they're loyal. According to Teenage Research, 84% of teens repeatedly purchase the same brand of camera or film, making it the top-ranking category for brand loyalty outside of health and beauty aids.

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