Tuesday 06 February 1996
The client: Polaroid Tim Palmer, European marketing director
"Our past decade of advertising was based on the premise that people understood the social things about Polaroid. The new campaign is re-addressing that. The ads will probably run throughout the year, on ITV and Channel 4. We're targeting people as they are getting ready to go out and have fun, so they will air mainly between 6pm and 9pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but also in different slots which have the right personality, like The Big Breakfast. The campaign wouldn't work in the press because it's too emotional and startling."
The agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Cindy Gallop, board account director
"Research found that Polaroid was seen as a product whose time had passed, like a Rubik cube. People were actually embarrassed to be seen as a Polaroid user. In focus groups, getting people to own up to having one was like getting them to admit to a sexually transmitted disease.
"We got staff to go out at the weekend to a social event with one, to gauge people's reactions. One of our staff was horrified, and said she couldn't possibly take one to a party and not tell everyone that it was for work. We had to make it socially acceptable and aspirational again.
"People behave differently in front of a Polaroid; they don't freeze, as they do with a conventional camera. They act wild and fool about. There's a social metamorphosis.
"We went back to Polaroid and explained: Polaroid is not a camera - it's used as a social lubricant, like alcohol. You must position yourself not against other cameras but other social lubricants, like Smirnoff.
"So we came up with the slogan 'Live for the Moment', which has a double meaning. Yes, you get your photo instantly, but, more importantly, Polaroid is for people who live for the moment - confident people who live for risk, who get wild.
"It was crucial to target younger people. That way, you don't exclude anyone because older people will always aspire to something that is hip for the young.
"In the rock star ad, a girl in a screaming crowd at a rock concert can get the attention of the star by taking a picture of herself and throwing it to him. She's the only one who can make the connection with him - because of her Polaroid.
"The second ad is in a chemist's shop. A young man staggers in, early morning, so ill he can't speak; the only way he can get his plight across is to show Polaroids of the night before. As the assistant behind the counter looks at the shots, you get bursts of loud music and the pharmacist 'gets the picture' and understands what he needs.
"The key thing is that you never actually see what's on the Polaroids. You just see the reactions. There's nothing more alienating than other people's pleasure. It's like being in a pub and seeing a rowdy group, drunk, having a whale of a time, but you're stone cold sober, so to you they look like idiots. We wanted to conjure up fun, but leave it to every individual's imagination. That will always be more extreme and more powerful than anything we could show.
"Similarly, the ads are not vivid or brightly coloured at all because we are asking people to reassess the brand completely. Cameras are traditionally advertised using vivid colours, but we are not selling a camera any more. Polaroid is about excitement, adrenalin, risk."
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