100th Anniversary of the Brownie Camera VNR
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Holmes Report

100th Anniversary of the Brownie Camera VNR

The Kodak 100th Anniversary of the Brownie Camera video news release was aimed at garnering media coverage to raise awareness of the Kodak brand, and to draw attention to it’s historic prominence.

Paul Holmes

The Kodak 100th Anniversary of the Brownie Camera video news release was aimed at garnering media coverage to raise awareness of the Kodak brand, and to draw attention to it’s historic prominence.  The production of the 100th Anniversary of the Brownie camera VNR was intended to tell the story of mass photography in the 20th century—from the launch of the Brownie Camera, through key photography innovations and advancements in the succeeding years, to present-day highlights of photo-imaging tools and technology.  Essentially, Kodak wanted this VNR to not only highlight its photographic products, but also it’s contribution to history as an innovator and leader.
We recommended executing an aggressive media outreach effort in order to maximize all coverage opportunities for the 100th Anniversary of the Brownie Camera.  For the production of the VNR, Shandwick utilized all possible resources - interviews, archival footage, and actual Brownie Camera samples, to drive visual interest.  The cumulative results of the VNR were extremely successful as Weber Shandwick Worldwide’s distribution of the VNR aired on local news broadcasts across the US, throughout the summer.
Kodak had three primary objectives for the VNR:
  • Reinforce Kodak’s rich photographic heritage
  • Promote Kodak’s innovative leadership over the past 100 years
  • Communicate that Kodak has always led, and will continue to lead the photographic industry
The following are a representation of Kodak’s projected audience for the campaign:
  • Snapshooters 18-49, Generation X (18-30), Generation Y (8-18)
  • Parents/ Grandparents/ Families
  • Photo Enthusiasts
  • Leisure Travelers
  • Scrapbookers/ Crafting Enthusiasts
The following aspects of the VNR development needed to be researched by Shandwick:
  • The history of the Brownie Camera
  • Photography developments through the 20th Century
  • Camera crews
  • Editing facilities
  • Interview opportunities
  • Interview locations
  • Finding archival footage of classic Kodak ads and vintage commercials
The initial step in the planning process was to layout appropriate timing for the shooting and the eventual release of the VNR.  Shooting and editing began in June, in conjunction with a Kodak product exhibit in New York where interviews and product shots were filmed on site. We also researched filming opportunities at the Eastman House and National Geographic’s headquarters.
The distribution of the VNR was held until early July, in order to avoid conflicting with other Kodak events—such as analyst meetings, a yearbook campaign wrap-up, a satellite media tour, and a new product launch—all scheduled for June. 
The Kodak’s 100th Anniversary of the Brownie Camera VNR was aimed at garnering media coverage to build the awareness of the brand but also to illustrate Kodak’s innovations throughout the century – showing not only it’s photographic products but it’s contribution to history.  The VNR was to be enhanced with archival footage from the early 20th century, interviews with experts in the history and future of photography, and a tour of the photographic and videographic collections at the George Eastman House. The VNR, approximately three minutes in length, covered three topics:
I.  What made the Brownie so successful?
Featuring curators from the George Eastman House, who described how the Brownie introduced photography to the masses, as a result of its affordability and ease of use.
II.  How has photography changed the world?
Featuring an outside expert from the world of photography to provide a unique historical perspective on photography throughout the last century. 
III. What will be the “Brownie” camera in the next century?
You cannot discuss the last 100 years of photography, without mentioning what lies ahead.  So we looked for insight into what the “next” century’s products would be like.
As with all video news releases it is important to balance the client’s message with the news worthiness of the subject.  We felt that the “news” in this story was how the invention of a light, inexpensive, easy-to-use camera had transformed communications in the 20th Century.  So we traveled to Washington D.C. to interview Bill Allard, senior photographer at the world’s most important photo journal, National Geographic magazine - not to talk about the Brownie - but to discuss what part photography played in the 20th Century.  Next we went to Rochester to research the long history of the Kodak’s Brownie line, and to gather stories and advertising to give the “Brownie” life.  Finally, we sat down with the one person who could tell us what the “Brownies” will be in the 21st Century, Kodak’s CEO, Dan Carp.
Weber Shandwick Worldwide targeted key national broadcast television outlets, as well as the Top 75 broadcast television markets across the US.  This included the pitching of morning television programs, afternoon news as well as leveraging the segment as a local news “kicker.”  Weber Shandwick proactively pitched the VNR from July to December, which involved the broadcasting of three satellite feeds and the mailing out of numerous videotape copies to the media.
The measure of success for Weber Shandwick Worldwide’s VNR production was quantified by 24 placements on broadcast outlets nationwide.  Through the extensive broadcast exposure achieved with the VNR, Weber Shandwick effectively conveyed Kodak’s standing as an industry leader, a technological visionary, and an American institution.   Total broadcast impressions of the campaign totaled 3,250,786.
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