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Still Alive & Clicking: Polaroid Launches $20M Ad Blitz Aimed at Generation X

Still Alive & Clicking:Polaroid Launches $20 M Ad Blitz Aimed at Generation X

by Dan Havlik

Seeking to rebuild its image since filing for bankruptcy last Fall, instant photo pioneer Polaroid has launched a new $20 million TV ad campaign aimed at young "social snappers."

The campaign kicked off last month with a TV spot entitled "Let Me In," which will be the first in a series of six to eight commercials revolving around a young couple who use a Polaroid camera, said Randall Smith, Polaroid's director of World Wide Communications.

"The focus of the ads are social snappers. They like to have fun, they're social and they're a little bit younger and there is more of a female focus (than in previous campaigns)," Smith said.

In addition to being young—the group's median age is 37—"social snappers" earn an average income of $50,000, presenting an attractive demographic for Polaroid to pursue. In commercials in the past, Polaroid has focused primarily on the family market.

In the first spot of the new series, created by Leo Burnett, a young man bangs on the door of a girl's apartment but gets no response. After seeing flowers in the hallway of the building, he reaches into his bag—where packs of Polaroid film are visible—and pulls out a Polaroid One Step Express camera. He then takes a picture of himself holding the flowers and slides it under the door.

Still getting no response, the man photographs his tattoo and slides the image under the door. A tight shot of a woman's hand throwing the pictures aside appears.

After more waiting, the young man takes a picture of his sad face and slides it under the door. Finally, the click of the lock is heard.

"Extra film is good," the voice over says. "Buy two packs of Polaroid film—get one free."

The young man is then shown smiling slightly as Polaroid's tagline "Click Instantly" appears on the screen.

A scene from Polaroid's new $20 million ad campaign. The first ad in the series, "Let Me In," began airing last month.

Although the new commercials focus on a young couple, it's not just a specific demographic that's being targeted, Smith said. The ad campaign is also meant to reacquaint the general public with the "Polaroid experience," he noted. "It's all about the very simple and spontaneous act of taking a picture and having the instant gratification of being able to see it develop before your eyes, which is what Polaroid is all about."

The new television spots have been airing during early morning news programs such as "Today," "Good Morning America," and "The Early Show," and are slated to appear during syndicated TV shows and on cable.
According to Polaroid, the new campaign more than doubles the company's television rating points from 2001. The $20 million price tag for the ad series is a 30 percent increase over Polaroid's television budget for last year.

Smith noted that the response from retailers to the new commercials has been "pretty positive," and that despite some of the negative press that resulted from the bankruptcy filing, the company's relationship with the retail market remains strong."Polaroid is still a valuable party of our retail partners mix and it remains an important brand to a large group of consumers."

Polaroid, which is based in Cambridge, Mass., filed for bankruptcy protection on October 12, 2001, after compiling nearly $1 billion in debt over the last 15 years. In February, a bankruptcy judge granted the company a 75-day extension period to file a reorganization plan, pushing the deadline to April 29th.

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