Canon leverages Lavigne

Canon Canada set out to entice the tech-savvy 16- to 35-year-old demographic, particularly women, into the expanding digital imaging fold by teaming up with Canadian recording artist Avril Lavigne.

Canon Canada set out to entice the tech-savvy 16- to 35-year-old demographic, particularly women, into the expanding digital imaging fold by teaming up with Canadian recording artist Avril Lavigne.

The singer, a self-proclaimed photography fan, stars in two TV spots promoting Canon’s Rebel Digital SLR camera and Elph point-and-shoot camera, and will soon be promoting the full range of products from Canon’s consumer imaging line.

‘She’s an artist, she’s creative and unique,’ explains Justin Lam, director of marketing, consumer imaging group, Canon Canada. ‘What we’re trying to do is cut through the noise, and her music does that.’

The campaign also rolled out a microsite,, where fans can upload and customize their pics with items featured in the commercials (including pink tiaras, feathery boas and balloons), enter a contest to win an Elph or Rebel SLR and share their pics with friends via social networking venues like Facebook, Delicious and Digg.

Canon also implemented a product integration initiative with So You Think You Can Dance Canada, which entails host Leah Miller throwing to photos of the week that the dancers have taken with their Canon Elphs. The Elph is mentioned throughout the show, and the two TV spots air during breaks.

We asked Frank Palmer, chairman and CEO of Vancouver-based DDB Canada, and Chris Pastirik, VP/senior strategist at Nucleus, a division of Cossette, to tell us whether or not Canon is singing the right tune with this celebritized endeavour.


Palmer: Canon might have made one of the best choices using a celebrity as their spokesperson. There’s little doubt she’s the right person to talk to the younger demographics that are digitally savvy. The POS works seamlessly with the online execution and television commercials. The social marketing tie-in is a fantastic way to share the photo contest with friends. The television ads will appeal to 12- to 35-year-olds, but I’m not sure it will meet their target demo of moms and daughters.

Pastirik: Overall, I like the strategy. The idea is that Canon cameras are more than a stylish way to take pictures, they are a way to express the creative side of your personality. I imagine this is relevant to a teen target. ‘My Elph My Way’ recognizes that the creative side of individuals is as individual as their personality. I buy that.


Palmer: Avril is a great choice. Since she is a photo enthusiast and has a loyal fan base, she will definitely have a following with the younger target group. However, the consumer may be more interested in the advertising than in purchasing the product.

Pastirik: Avril Lavigne follows several other ‘rebels’ in supporting the Canon Rebel camera, including tennis bad boy Andre Agassi. I have to believe Avril has lost some of her cachet with teens, who are likely catching on to the fact that she is a manufactured rebel, not a real one.


Palmer: Both commercials were very well produced. They utilized Avril in action, capturing her charisma and moves and keeping her brand intact. Well done.

Pastirik: The Digital Rebel spot is too heavy-handed. I half believe that the agency simply asked Avril to read the brief while holding the product and then set it to her music. The Powershot spot lets our teen girl do a bit of dot-connecting to get there, and is much better for it. It doesn’t tell her what to think, and might end up being listened to.


Palmer: The tie-in with the TV show and host Leah Miller is very smart. They will benefit because of the show’s popularity and younger contestants vying to win. Utilizing them to take photos of the week that are shown on screen is more campaign ‘candy magic.’

Pastirik: The dancers, much like Lavigne, are expressing another side of their creativity through photography. Cut to a commercial break featuring, you guessed it, Avril and her Canon. Nice work, media folk.


Palmer: Simple, smart and serendipitous. The microsite should be a big hit with all those who want to have fun dressing up in a fantasy or movie set atmosphere. Two thumbs up.

Pastirik: does a nice job of pulling the program together. It’s a good creative outlet for teens. Beyond that, the site is pretty basic. Very little motion except for the TV spots. I would question whether the site can engage attention-challenged teens for any significant period of time.

The creds:

Canon Canada: Justin Lam, director of marketing, consumer imaging group

Ad agency – Brainstorm Group: Dorothy McMillan, CD; Daryl Klein, AD; Brian Flay, CW; Margaret Callaghan, producer; Marc Klasfeld, director

Media agency – MediaCom/Media Buying Services: Sunith Lobo, group account director; Georgia Godinho, broadcast supervisor