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Creative Marketing by Kodak – Part Three


Jun 10, 2012 Blog, Creative Marketing , , 3 Comments

Marketing campaigns I have always admired were those presented by Eastman Kodak, maker of cameras and film.  As a photographer, I must admit I was exposed (excuse the pun) to many of their ads.  Even as a 16 year old fledgling photographer driving around Long Island with my mom to take pictures of horses or out to the Hamptons to take pictures of motocross races (my boyfriend raced); Kodak was my film of choice.

What I found interesting was that Kodak wasn’t advertising a specific camera or this thin, long, spooled up,  dark colored, glossy “stuff” called film when airing a spot on TV;  they were selling what that camera and film created which had incredible value not yet realized by the consumer.  As a photographer buying 35 mm film, I was concerned with the factors and quality of the film I used, but the masses weren’t.  For the record, Kodak did advertise their actual products and what features each had in other media. However, when advertising to the masses on TV, in general they went with the “value of memories” aspect.  Kodak set out to explain the impact, relevance, importance, and irreplaceable value of photos – even in your home.

Kodak was created by George Eastman in 1880.  By 1888 consumers had these new fangled, complicated “things” called cameras in their hands.  The first Kodak advertising slogan led the way with “You Push The Button, We Do The Rest.”  Good start.  Consumers started to get a grasp on this new idea and realized that taking a picture was not so complicated.  But why should people take pictures??  Kodak gave many reasons through decades of marketing campaigns.  I could make this a very long post, but I will keep this brief.  Here are some campaigns that I believe were their best.

In the 1960’s, Kodak presented “Turn Around.”  This ad focused on (I know, I can’t seem to get away from photography terms here) the value of documenting a loved one’s life from baby to adult.  What better person to choose than a daughter??  Add in the song that sang “Where are you going my little one, my little one” and that whole thing became a tear jerker commercial that people remembered.  Only at the very end did they show the Kodak products and say “All it takes is a camera, Kodak film, and thoughtfulness.”  Perfect.  Click this link to view the ad.

So Kodak continued to sell cameras and film by bringing to the forefront the huge personal value of pictures, the immense impact one picture can make, and the importance of documenting history through photography.  This marketing strategy worked for them for decades.

The following link is to the “Keep Me, Protect Me, Share Me, And I Will Live Forever” short version advertisement.

The “True Colors” advertisements again stressed the value and power of a picture – stirring the viewer’s heart with emotion.  At the end of this ad the announcer says, “Why trust your memories to anything less.”  Click the following link.

This next one was good as well.   It showed how Kodak’s products could be utilized for self expression and to connect with others who might like your work and/or are like minded people.  The ending stated, “Capture Someone’s Attention” and “What’s Inside You.”  See the following link.

Some other advertising slogans included: Making Memories, Capture the Moment, A Picture Is Forever, A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words, Priceless Photos for Next To Nothing.

Kodak has recently filed for bankruptcy which is not due to their past marketing campaigns.  It appears that management did not want to acknowledge or commercialize many valuable technologies created in their own labs.  Other companies ran with these new discoveries and were successful selling them to the market.  It’s ironic that the first digital camera was created in 1975 by an engineer named Steve Sasson who worked at Kodak.  I believe that if Kodak’s management were as astute, creative, insightful, intelligent, with an ability to see forward just as their research & develpment people and marketing team, they wouldn’t be in the position they are today.  It is a sad ending to a company that did a lot of good in the past and who created not just “memories” but incredible advertising campaigns.  I will remember them with a particular fondness and smile when I see their old ads.

Check back soon for the next post in my series.  Also, click the SharpShooter Marketing Group link on the side of this page to check out my group and the services we offer.  You can also visit us on Facebook.  Also check out the Snow Tree Productions link which is an audio recording studio and production company who we work with.