Paul Holmes 14 May 2005 // 11:00PM GMT
Adobe PR took Photoshop Album, the company’s first consumer-level digital imaging software, from “newbie to must-have” in just two years. Photoshop Album went from anonymous to award-winning in the consumer market, including a long-running spot on amazon.com’s best-seller list. Innovative PR campaigns included a carefully selected international trade show in Germany, a spa event and mock bachelorette party in New York City’s Soho House, holiday-themed radio contests that netted the equivalent of over $300,000 in advertising time, and audience-appropriate goody bags for specialized magazines ranging from Parents to Esquire.
It takes consumers an average of six months to a year to realize that the free software that comes with a new digital camera is rudimentary. And big names like Google and Microsoft crowd the market with products inferior to Adobe’s managing, organizing and sharing software, making it hard to educate consumers.
Additionally, software is hard to place on mainstream media channels. It’s not a gadget, it’s not sexy enough to show on television, and it takes experience to understand its benefits. About 99 percent of consumer editors and reporters use Macs, so they can’t try Adobe products firsthand. Television personalities like Kelly Ripa are often tech-phobic; turning on a computer may be a hard task for some of them.
Adobe chose to use PR as the sole vehicle to educate the press and consumers. With no advertising to back up PR efforts, it was exceedingly challenging to make a lasting impression and create brand awareness among general public.
The main PR objective was to generate awareness and interest in the public (primarily PC users) for an affordable and simple solution for all their photo management needs. Research showed that Apple had already saturated the Mac market, so PR focused on PC users who mostly read mainstream news, more so than technology news. We wanted to let the world know that the do-it-yourself approach to photo management was affordable and easy, contrary to popular misconception.
The PR team had to create awareness and interest among consumers by blanketing mainstream consumer press, TV, radio and Web, with product messaging, use unconventional PR vehicles, like editor spa events and freelancer and top 20 market influencer outreach to zero in on pain points associated with digital camera ownership and creative ways of sharing memories, reinforce ease-of-use and sharing capabilities of the product through visual examples, on-site product demos and “average consumer” testimonials, further generate interest and maximize coverage using key seasonal/ themed activities, like satellite media tours (SMTs), top ground tours, radio giveaways and holiday media alerts and use strategic campaigns, like “You have a digital camera, Now What?” to position the products as must-have accessories for anyone with a digital camera.
Adobe PR used the software to create customized photo books, calendars and greeting cards for vertical publications such as parenting, teen and men’s lifestyle outlets. For example, a fun extreme sports photo book was developed for men’s publications and a bachelorette party book was developed for wedding targets. A strategic “You have a digital camera, Now What?” campaign was implemented which addressed the needs of consumers once they bought a digital camera, radio promotions corresponding to holidays and special occasions, like Father’s and Mother’s Days were implemented in the top 40 markets.
Radio tech talk programs hosted by respectable tech experts helped get the message to consumers, themed MAT releases were drafted and distributed via a cost-effective, mass audience vehicle, Adobe PR also organized an active outreach to major broadcast outlets, including the top national morning shows and special cable programs, such as Fine Living Network and HGTV and in addition, Adobe participated in targeted SMTs and top ground tours with respected television personalities.
Adobe PR also organized innovative events to connect with the consumer press and TV show producers. An example includes the most successful “Mani’s and Mojito’s” event held at the exclusive
Soho House in New York City. The event was set up with a specific picture-taking theme in mind, in this case a mock bachelorette party. Guests were treated to cocktails, free manicures, and had an opportunity to learn about Adobe’s latest digital imaging solutions in a fun, relaxed setting. A photographer took photos which were immediately turned into a slideshow using Photoshop Album and projected on the wall. Guests left with a personalized goody bag containing market-specific photo albums and calendars, tip sheets, and luxurious products from Soho House. Adobe PR followed up with personalized thank you notes and event photo books, prepared with Photoshop Album.
Adobe also met with domestic and international press at key trade shows and events, like Pepcom’s Holiday Spectacular Event in NYC and Photokina in Germany.
Adobe PR’s approach of blanketing major consumer media outlets generated spectacular results such as; over 200 articles and product reviews were published on the products in top consumer and business publications, including Child, Teen People, Family Fun, Time, US News and World Report, BusinessWeek and Consumer Reports, and major dailies, like the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times.
This translated into an advertising equivalency of close to $1 million, the products were viewed by millions of viewers on national TV as a result of targeted SMTs and national television programs, such as “The Martha Stewart Show,” the products received rave reviews from influencers, like Walt Mossberg, personal technology columnist for Wall Street Journal.
Mossberg stressed the consumer need for easy to use software for organizing photos saying: “You now need a good software program to organize, touch-up and share the thousands of digital pictures that are filling your computer’s hard disk or will be soon… I believe Photoshop Album 2.0 is now the best choice for Windows users looking to manage their digital photo collections.” Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 received numerous prestigious awards, including Popular Science’s Best of What’s New Award and PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award.