Paul Holmes 04 Mar 2003 // 12:00AM GMT
Nikon was to introduce the Coolpix 775, its first Coolpix digital camera targeted to the mass-market consumer. It was an opportunity for the Company to target a totally new consumer audience and compete in the mid to low-end range of the market. The MWW Group convinced Nikon to leverage the product introduction to generate a buzz and consumer excitement for the Nikon brand and associate Coolpix with what is “hip” and “trendy” in the mind of consumers.
Traditionally, Nikon photographic products have been geared to the higher end consumer buyer and professional photographer. Nikon enjoys dominant market share in the serious and pro photographer markets and its products are perceived as very “high quality” and “more expensive” than competitive products. Currently, the Nikon Coolpix line of digital cameras is positioned at the mid to high-end range of the market. Until this point, Nikon had not competed in the mid to low-end consumer digital market, nor had the company traditionally sold products through mass-market distribution channels. Research indicates that there is little identification of Nikon among a younger audience of consumers and that Nikon is perceived as the “gold standard” in photography, but a company that does not have “trendy” products.
Further, when Nikon has launched a new product, the Company has used traditional public relations and marketing tactics to generate awareness among consumers. Activities centered on editorial product reviews in photography enthusiast publications as well as a consumer publicity campaign with mainstream media. Nikon has been traditionally a very conservative company and did not initially entertain MWW’s recommendation to secure a celebrity spokesperson to endorse the product – MWW convinced them otherwise.
MWW developed a sustaining marketing communications campaign to generate hype for the product during initial retail availability through the summer selling season. MWW implemented a series of integrated activities designed to put media focus on the product and place the camera in the hands of consumers to incite purchase. As part of the program, MWW coordinated Nikon’s first guerilla marketing campaign to reach the average consumer who may not be familiar with the Nikon brand, and to establish an “emotional” connection between Nikon and potential purchasers.
The program separated the Coolpix 775 from its competition and created an immediate buzz in the marketplace through an integrated communications campaign directed to Coolpix 775 target audiences.
We knew we had four months—from the time of the product announcement to retail availability—to heighten awareness and generate consumer excitement for the Coolpix 775. The strategy was to predispose consumers to the product before they walk into the retailer, as mass-market retailers do not have sales staff to help consumers in their decision-making process. MWW began media outreach in April to heighten awareness for the product, and timed the guerilla marketing activities to coincide with product availability in July. MWW enlisted a celebrity spokesperson and planned a major launch event guaranteed to attract national media attention, when one month before launch, the spokesperson backed out, leaving MWW with only two months to find a new spokesperson and create a new campaign strategy.
MWW’s communications objectives were to:
· Use the Coolpix 775 to generate awareness of Nikon’s entry into the consumer digital camera mass market
· Generate consumer excitement for the Coolpix 775 from introduction and availability through holiday selling season
- Change the perception of the Nikon brand and Nikon products as “just only for professional photographers”
· Create a buzz in the marketplace through an integrated communications campaign directed to Coolpix 775 target audiences
· Allow consumers to test the product and “see for themselves”
The primary target audience for the Coolpix 775 launch is first and second time digital camera users seeking a high quality, but easy-to-use digital camera. Nikon identified two key audiences: “selective experientials” and the “life is good” consumer – two identified markets comprised of 24 – 45 year olds that are tech savvy, adventurous and have disposable income.
- Use publicity to generate consumer awareness of product
- Create events that encourage consumer product trial
- Associate the Coolpix 775 and the Nikon brand with a “trendy” celebrity
MWW employed four major tactics to meet Nikon’s sales and communications objectives. We reached the public through the following venues:
· Consumer Media Publicity, which included product announcement publicity, feature stories
- incorporating Nikon’s photo site, NikonNet.com, a mailing of the Coolpix 775 premium to consumer publications, a photo distributed over the AP wire, product reviews, one-on-one meetings with key consumer and special interest magazines, and a holiday media push (ongoing).
· Satellite Media Tour with celebrity spokesperson Kim Cattrall of HBO’s Sex and the City, which included use of Ms. Cattrall in a national Nikon-sponsored photo contest, “Zoom in on the Fun: The Search for Summer’s Ultimate Funny Photo.” This marks the first time Nikon employed a celebrity spokesperson to endorse a product.
· “775 Hours of Summer Fun” Tour, which used guerilla marketing to place the product in the hands of consumers, reached the average consumer who may not have been familiar with the Nikon brand, established an “emotional” connection between Nikon and potential purchasers, and drove traffic to the NikonNet/Coolpix 775 microsite. A Nikon-outfitted van staffed with four Nikon crew members toured the nation, visiting high-traffic locations and events in 12 cities, for “775 Hours of Summer Fun” through the month of August and brought the Coolpix 775 straight to the consumer, demonstrating the simplicity and ease-of-use of the camera. People could touch and feel the camera and take pictures, which were later posted on the Coolpix 775 microsite. The crew gave out cards with the microsite address where consumers could go to view their photos and also enter the “Zoom in on the Fun” photo contest.
· Radio Promotions aired in 12 of the top 15 media markets: Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, New York City, Los Angeles and Boston and ran in conjunction with other trendy events in each respective city.
Evaluation of Success
The Coolpix 775 was placed in the hands of more than 25,000 consumers through the 12-city, 775 Hours of Summer Fun Road Tour. An additional 63,000 consumers were exposed to the van and the Coolpix message. 28,000 Coolpix 775 premiums were distributed to further generate product awareness. Between July 30 and August 30, there were 50,000 unique visitors to the NikonNet website, and 237 contest entries were received.
Total Media Impressions Through Publicity
The audience reach for publicity activities implemented on behalf of the Coolpix 775 between April 25 – August 31, 2001, based on circulation and viewership, is 83,722,925 with a pass-along value of 209.3 million. This number is a result from print and Internet media outreach and the satellite media tour with Kim Cattrall. Total consumer media placements reached 130 with a total audience reach of 45,854,308, not including all audience numbers for all web site hits (which cannot be measured); making the pass-along value 114,635,770 impressions
Satellite Media TourTotal audience reach of 37,878,617 (pass-along value = 94,696,542 impressions). We secured 34 total bookings/interviews, including 10 live interviews and 6 national interviews. Several stations linked their websites to the NikonNet website and posted the NikonNet URL on TV during the interviews. 30 interviews aired in top 25 ADI markets. An additional 6 affiliate stations, not booked for interviews, ran interviews. 14 of the 24 stations aired a total of 76 teasers prior to interviews. Access Hollywood was a