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"The fun is in the floppy." Sony Corp. used that message in 1999 to support its Mavica digital camera, which made Sony No. 1 in the category the year it entered it, 1997, by relying on a simple floppy disk to transfer pictures from camera to computer.

Jay Sato, 45, VP-marketing, digital imaging, was working in the camcorder group he started in 1985 when he saw an opportunity for a new start-up: a digital still camera division. Traditional camera marketers populated the category, but sales were modest. He set out to tap into what he saw as unrealized potential.

Other marketers "miscalculated the need of consumers, which was simplicity," Mr. Sato says. "We struck the right chord -- fast and easy."

In July 1997, the first Mavica hit shelves marketed under his "Fast and easy" theme, implemented by Y&R Advertising, New York.

"People gravitated toward the simplicity of the floppy disk," he says. The floppy was more familiar to consumers than setups for other digital cameras, which required an adapter or serial cable plus software to transfer images to the computer.

"I was proud because we went into an industry and became No. 1 in a year," he says.

In 1998, Sony captured a 42.3% dollar share; in 1999, it jumped to 47.2%, according to NPD Intelect Market Tracking.

"It really became mainstream; it was not a flash-in-the pan idea," Mr. Sato says.

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