Marketing Campaign Case Studies

Sunday, September 7, 2008


In the mid-1990s the Eastman Kodak Company was not just the leading manufacturer of photographic film, paper, and chemicals; it was listed as one of the top companies in America. In both 1996 and 1997 the stock-market researcher EquiTrend selected Kodak as the number one brand for quality in the United States. At that time digital photography had not yet reached critical mass, and Kodak wanted to promote its new Kodak Advantix Photo System. Advantix was pitched as an ‘‘error-free, drop-in film’’ that allowed consumers to download film images onto a computer. At the same time camera makers such as Canon Inc. and Sony Corporation were developing digital cameras. Hoping to brand Kodak for a younger market and promote Advantix, Kodak released its ‘‘Take Pictures. Further’’ campaign. The television, radio, outdoor, and print campaign was funded by Kodak’s $100 million marketing budget and debuted in April 1996. Created by the ad agency Ogilvy & Mather of New York, the campaign was separated into different executions. ‘‘Anthem’’ consisted of five 60- and 30-second spots with the actor Luke Perry repeatedly answering the question ‘‘What can a picture be?’’ The second execution, titled ‘‘Tall Tales,’’ featured two 60-second commercials that each told a story through images. Campaign spots that were not connected to ‘‘Anthem’’ or ‘‘Tall Tales’’ aired later. The headline in an advertisement in People magazine asked, ‘‘Isn’t it time you had a new box to keep your pictures in?’’ A second magazine ad featured a photograph of workers mining vivid yellow sulfur on a steaming volcano. The text explained that Kodak Ektachrome Elite II amateur slide film could capture vibrant, pure colors under varying light conditions. The campaign officially ended in March 2001. ‘‘Take Pictures. Further’’ began just as digital photography was entering the mainstream culture. Advantix was not as popular as Kodak had expected. From 1999 to 2001 the company’s sales dropped from $14.1 billion to $13.2 billion. Because the campaign branded Kodak with film technologies instead of emerging digital technologies, the advertising community blamed it for outdating the Kodak brand while digital photography blossomed.


Kodak traced its roots to Eastman Dry Plate Company, founded in 1880 by George Eastman and Henry Strong. Dry plates represented a significant improvement over the chemically treated wet plates of glass that photographers had previously used to expose one picture at a time in their cameras, a procedure that required considerable expertise. In 1884 the company patented the first roll film, a long strip of paper coated with emulsion that was sensitive to light. In 1888 Eastman began marketing the Kodak, a portable box camera that cost $25 and was loaded with enough film for 100 pictures. The invention of this type of camera and film was important in the growth of the motion-picture industry, and it opened the field of photography to amateurs.

Emphasizing that its new cameras were simple enough for the average consumer to use, Eastman Company advertised with the slogan ‘‘You push the button,we do the rest.’’ At the turn of the century the firm increased its massmarket appeal by introducing a small Kodak camera called the Brownie at the inexpensive price of $1. By that time the enterprise was known as Eastman Kodak Company. Among its many noteworthy innovations were the introduction of color film in 1935 and the launch of the Kodak Instamatic camera in 1963. Ease of use remained a primary theme in the company’s marketing efforts. ‘‘Kodak Instamatic Cameras load instantly! Automatically shoot and take sharp, clear pictures time after time!’’ said an advertisement in Good Housekeeping. ‘‘No threading. No fumbling. No rewinding.’’ With a market share that averaged 60 to 70 percent, Kodak led the industry for decades. By 1997 it was one of the 25 largest companies in the United States. Its products included photography equipment and supplies, film, projectors, and copiers. Units such as Sterling Drug had been acquired over the years but were divested in the early 1990s as part of a general overhaul that focused the company on imaging products. During the late 1990s the firm kept up with changing technology by rapidly expanding and improving its digital equipment and services. These innovations allowed consumers to store their photographs on compact or floppy disks, view them and alter them on computer screens, and transmit them over the Internet. Kodak offered numerous state-of-the-art products and services, and it formed marketing alliances with companies such as America Online and Intel Corporation to encourage customers to use their photographs in new ways.

Over the years Kodak had cultivated a familyoriented image with advertising that revolved around the ‘‘Kodak moment,’’ a portrait of a consumer capturing a heartwarming experience on film. Many people were not aware, however, that Kodak offered more than film and cameras. In addition, research showed that consumers thought the company was old-fashioned. In 1996 Kodak released the ‘‘Take Pictures. Further’’ campaign to change its image and to publicize its many products along with the possibilities they offered to consumers.


Kodak had cultivated a loyal following among consumers at least 35 years old, but it was not particularly appealing to most younger people. The new corporate-image campaign was intended to retain Kodak’s traditional customers while reaching teenagers and young adults, with a particular emphasis on consumers who were interested in mastering the most recent technologies. The first advertisements to use the ‘‘Take Pictures. Further’’ theme were aimed at the parents (ages 25 to 55) of school-age children, at young adults who used computers and had a college education (ages 18 to 34), and at business managers and department heads (ages 35 to 64). These ads promoted products such as ImageMagic service, which allowed consumers to crop and enlarge their photographs using Advantix, and the Fun Saver, a camera designed to be used only one time. Later advertisements also showcased innovative products. ‘‘Introducing the easiest way to get your pictures into your PC. The new Kodak Advantix film drive,’’ said a magazine ad that ran in 1998.

Some advertisements targeted the company’s core clientele of snap shooters 25 to 54 years old, primarily women, who took pictures to remember events such as birthday parties and family vacations. Kodak had become the industry leader by making it easy for people to take good photographs, and as the company introduced digital cameras and other innovations, its advertising assured consumers that photography would still be easy and more fun than ever. One advertisement in Travel & Leisure promoted Kodak Max film with the headline ‘‘I don’t care about f-stops. I don’t care about shutter speeds. I just want to take a picture.’’ The ad showed three badly exposed photographs labeled ‘‘Before Kodak Max’’ and three correctly exposed photographs labeled ‘‘After Kodak Max.’’ By showing new ways for people to enjoy their photographs, Kodak encouraged its customers to do more with their pictures than toss them in a drawer or file them away in a photo album. Of the 70 to 80 billion photographs that Americans snapped each year, only 2 percent were reprinted or enlarged. The ‘‘Take Pictures. Further’’ campaign urged consumers to use new technology such as E-mail to share photographs with their families and friends, to incorporate more photographs into documents created on their computers, and to improve photographs by altering their appearance. In addition to promoting Kodak’s digital products and services, the campaign was intended to revive interest in traditional film and cameras by explaining the many ways that average people could work with visual images.


One of Kodak’s primary rivals was a company with headquarters in Japan, Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. Both Kodak and Fuji made film and photographic papers for professionals and amateurs, both firms had acquired large film processing companies nationwide to increase their share of the photo-finishing market, and both had begun manufacturing products such as digital cameras to compete in the emerging field of digital technology. Fuji had earned a reputation for low prices and high quality. In the spring of 1997 it suddenly slashed the price of its film, saying that one of its largest distributors had switched to Kodak and left Fuji with 2.5 million rolls of excess film to sell. During that summer Kodak’s film sometimes cost as much as 30 percent more than Fuji’s. According to Brandweek, Kodak’s share of the $3 billion U.S. film market slipped from 85 percent in 1988 to about 70 percent by the summer of 1997 and 65 percent by June 1998. Fuji had about 15 percent of the film market in 1998, up from 10 percent in 1996, and it also controlled about 15 percent of the photo-finishing market. Lacking the brand loyalty that Kodak had cultivated over the years, Fuji attempted to strengthen its corporate brand image in 1998 with an advertising campaign that used bright colors, surreal scenes, and the slogan ‘‘You can see the future from here.’’

Kodak also competed with companies that made cameras and related products. In 1998 Canon U.S.A. promoted its Advanced Photo System camera, the ELPH, with the tagline ‘‘So advanced . . . it’s simple.’’ The company’s ‘‘Wildlife as Canon Sees It’’ series of magazine ads featured large, beautiful photographs of wildlife above text that characterized each animal and mentioned Canon’s efforts to protect endangered species. Each ad included a small photograph and description of a Canon product. Another camera maker, Pentax Corporation, asked, ‘‘Aren’t your pictures worth a Pentax?’’ The campaign showed customers explaining that they had been able to take spectacular photographs thanks to certain features on their Pentax cameras. Minolta Corporation continued its ‘‘Only from the Mind of Minolta’’ campaign, while Olympus America Inc. used the slogan ‘‘Focus on Life.’’


Kodak had been using 200 advertising agencies worldwide but reduced that number to 4 during a general restructuring of its marketing program in 1994 and 1995. The company then increased its advertising expenditures for film, cameras, and its first image campaign. Kodak’s U.S. advertising budget was $65.4 million in 1994, $82 million in 1995, and about $100 million from 1996 through 1998. Each of the four agencies (Ogilvy & Mather, J. Walter Thompson, Uniworld, and Saatchi & Saatchi) promoted a specific group of products, with the separate advertising campaigns all using the new slogan ‘‘Take Pictures. Further.’’ Ogilvy & Mather was responsible for the overall corporate-image effort. Kodak’s trademark yellow served as the dominant color in the advertisements, helping to unify the brand message. In print ads the tagline was positioned beside or below the red and yellow Kodak logo, often near the address of the company’s home page on the Internet, which was also designed around the ‘‘Take Pictures. Further’’ theme. The tagline first appeared in advertisements designed by J. Walter Thompson to publicize Kodak’s new Advantix camera and accessories, which were launched in April 1996. Ogilvy & Mather handled the Advantix campaign in 1997 and 1998, still using the ‘‘Take Pictures. Further’’ slogan. Ads for Advantix products explained that the camera could take pictures in three sizes, that it featured drop-in film loading, and that the consumer received an index print when the film was developed. In 1997 Kodak spent about $60 million to advertise the Advantix brand in the United States. Ogilvy & Mather also created the ‘‘Tall Tales’’ execution, which had a budget of $20 to $40 million and ran during 1996 and 1997. These humorous scenarios, which aired on television and at movie theaters, showed people using products and services such as Kodak Gold and Max films and Kodak premium processing. One spot showed a young man accidentally photographing a flying saucer, then being pursued by government agents and rescued by space aliens. In another spot a consumer used Kodak’s Image Magic digital enhancement station to hide the dents in a photograph of a Gremlin automobile. Many executions in the ‘‘Take Pictures. Further’’ campaign emphasized Kodak’s digital products. A twopage ad in Reader’s Digest in 1998 featured a photograph of three boys playing soccer. The headline read, ‘‘Your son was a blur as he raced down the field. But every detail will be crystal clear when you print out your pictures.’’ The opposite page showed a digital camera with text explaining that the product allowed consumers to preview pictures, delete whatever they disliked, store the digital images on a picture card, use a computer to E-mail them to family and friends, and print them on high-quality paper. An ad in People magazine in 1998 also showed boys playing soccer next to the headline ‘‘This kick went clear across the country.’’ A coupon was included, inviting consumers to try Kodak PhotoNet (an online service for E-mailing photographs, ordering reprints, and purchasing gifts via the Internet) or Kodak Picture disk (a floppy disk that allowed consumers to view photographs on their computer monitors and incorporate pictures into documents). Kodak continued to use the slogan in new advertising campaigns during the late 1990s to promote three digital-imaging products that allowed amateurs to enlarge or crop their photographs, remove the red that flash photography sometimes caused in a subject’s eyes, add messages to the image, and place decorative borders around their pictures. Noting an increase in the number of teenage consumers, Kodak began slanting more of its U.S. advertising toward teenage girls. One spot, titled ‘‘Tattoo,’’ featured a girl who wanted a tattoo. Adhering to her mother’s advice to ‘‘shoot your friends’ tattoos, and we’ll look at the options,’’ she used an Advantix camera to photograph four different tattoos she liked. After having a nightmare in which the phrase ‘‘Viva Macarena’’ was tattooed across her forehead, the teen decided against getting a tattoo.

Unifying its global advertisements, the company launched its first worldwide image campaign in 1999. The effort built on the earlier campaign’s ‘‘Tall Tales’’ commercials and featured more fantastic stories told through photographs taken with Kodak products.


During the six-year span of ‘‘Take Pictures. Further,’’ Kodak’s uncontested dominance over the photography industry began to wane. The enterprise lost business not to other film companies but to the skyrocketing popularity of digital photography. According to Kodak executives and advertising analysts, the problem with ‘‘Take Pictures. Further’’ was that it failed to promote Kodak’s own advancements in digital technology. In 1996 Kodak was one of the first companies to introduce a range of pocket-size digital cameras. Instead of marketing the digital cameras, however, Kodak promoted Advantix, which did not offer as many features as digital photography and cost more for consumers to develop. Belinda Parmar, an Ogilvy & Mather representative who worked on the campaign, told Marketing that Kodak’s greatest problem was that ‘‘[i]t may have promising digital technology, but it has failed to communicate this effectively and convince consumers that Kodak is a digital brand.’’ Sales for Kodak steadily declined during the campaign’s final three years. Kodak released several digital cameras throughout this period, but technology critics believed that digital Kodak cameras lacked the functionality and form of cameras made by Sony and Canon. In 2001 Kodak also made a late entry into online photo development with its launch of, a website onto which consumers could upload their digital images and later receive the printed images in the mail. Kodak was offering digital products, but its campaign pushed the more expensive and less popular film products. ‘‘Kodak is well placed to become a success in home printing, particularly as the sector moves from high-end to mass market,’’ Parmar continued in Marketing. ‘‘But first,’’ she said, ‘‘it must focus its marketing communication on why, rather than how, people print out digital.’’

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