Un-flashy

Sometimes, to create buzz, no flash is necessary: simply getting the product to the consumer is all you need. So recently, Fuji Canada delivered its new Fine Pics F440 digital camera into the hands of its target market: 160 women scattered across the Greater Toronto Area.

Sometimes, to create buzz, no flash is necessary: simply getting the product to the consumer is all you need. So recently, Fuji Canada delivered its new Fine Pics F440 digital camera into the hands of its target market: 160 women scattered across the Greater Toronto Area.

‘Our goal was to get the word out there about the camera and printing options,’ says John Stevenson, Fuji assistant manager of communication and research. He says women are not only the primary users of the digital camera but young moms specifically tend to be the ‘curators of the family photo album,’ and therefore responsible for the archiving and printing of photos. Who better then to create buzz for the brand’s new product?

That’s when Toronto-based agency Matchstick, experts in said buzz, entered the picture. First, it tracked down the women, aged 25 to 55, who were recruited by combing through magazines and newspapers, then contacted and interviewed over the phone, or met in high-end shopping districts and at events like baby shows. They were then asked questions to determine their fit. Matchstick partner Matthew Stradiotto says they were looking for women who were middle to high income, considered the source of information amongst their friends and spent a lot on ‘lifestyle’ activities and products.

These ‘influencers’ then received a package, designed by the agency, which included the camera, an album and photo card for 25 free prints and an extended memory card. Over four weeks, they were left to their own devices – no contact was made with them – they were simply to integrate the camera into their daily lives. The goal being that during idle talk with other women, the camera would be mentioned to another woman and so on and so on.

Why seeding and why now? Stevenson says that in the digital camera category, purchase decisions are based on peer influence, especially from one deemed as having greater understanding of the product. Second, taking photographs is a social activity, so aligning with the product in a ‘word-of-mouth’ environment was a natural fit. And finally, because camera companies are scampering to keep up with the rapidly changing technology and attract and maintain consumers, ‘it became important to find a new entry point,’ he says.

Sales results, of course, are difficult to measure, but Stradiotto says the built-in metrics as well as qualitative and quantitative post-seeding research the agency conducts did prove the campaign was a success. For example, women were invited to visit the printmypics.ca Web site where they could not only receive more information, but once they uploaded their favourite picture were entered into a contest to keep their camera.

Matchstick is also able to measure this campaign against other ‘technology’ seeding projects they have conducted. And? ‘It did very well,’ he says.

But, most important was learning about their target, says Stevenson. ‘It confirmed our suspicions that women are the ones…stepping up and taking [the photo-taking] role.’ And, he adds that the anecdotal insights, which came directly from the women ‘were [much better than what] we would have gotten from focus groups and regular surveys.’