Thursday, April 20, 2006

Nikon had to do something to stay in the game, so they decided on an edgy look

The consumer digital photography market is viciously competitive, and some famous camera makers like Minolta have already gotten out of the business. For Nikon, marketing its reputation as a producer of legendary professional gear hasn't been selling nearly enough point-and-shoots. They knew they had to try something different.

The Nikon version of a Hail Mary pass was to get edgy. Once edgy meant looking bad. Now it means being bad. Bad in the sense of Kate Moss, whose fondness for the white powder was the talk of the tabloids some months ago, almost wrecking her career. Almost, but not quite, as the NYT explains.
"It shows how relevant she is," Jenn Ramey, Ms. Moss's American agent, said this week, just days after Nikon introduced a new campaign for its Coolpix S6 digital camera built around a series of photographs of a mostly naked Ms. Moss.
FOR Anna Marie Bakker, the director of communications at Nikon, Ms. Moss seemed an obvious choice to promote a brand aggressively trying to shed its fusty image and seduce the notoriously fickle imaginations of young consumers. "Part of the appeal is that she is truly an enduring style icon," Ms. Bakker said. "But most importantly, she appeals to Nikon as we try to move our product forward, because she has an edge."
The idea is not just sexy, in a dubious but distinctly transgressive fashion. It is also a shrewd exploitation of brand. "From the minute her name came up, we loved the idea of Kate endorsing a camera," said Mr. Oberlander, the McCann Worldwide executive. What could be better, Mr. Oberlander said, than giving a camera to the woman who has spent her life as the focus of its gaze and letting her "take the lens and turn it on the audience?"
The question is, will the audience notice? More specifically, will it notice the camera?

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