In their campaign for a new camera, Nikon appear to have chosen an almost opposite marketing strategy to Coca Cola’s botched viral marketing campaign. Instead of making a fake amateurish video and posting fifty links to it from Norwegian discussion boards, Nikon picked out a small number of eager, amateur photos already posting their photos to the web and sent them the new camera. The print ad shows some of the photos they took, with a tag line emphasising their amateur passion: “They shoot for photosites like Flickr. They shoot for family photo albums. They shoot because they’re passionate about taking pictures. What did they capture with the new 10.2 megapixel Nikon D80? See more of their jaw-dropping photos at stunningnikon.com/dslr“. At the website there are more photos, though not as many as I’d have expected based on the print ad – and there are little videos where four photographers explain how they take photos, and sometimes how much they like aspects of the D80.

Great, I thought, they’re actually using a combined bottom-up approach, being generous to customers and repaying them by presenting them truthfully and spreading their photos to a greater audience. Then I thought I’d look at some of these photographers’ Flickr sites – and hm. Picture_bunny obviously only just signed up. Others are clearly very active. Obviously this is all marketing – but marketing that uses authenticity heavily. Rather than spam conversations with links to advertising (as Coca Cola did) they’ve created stories and content building on actual participants in the conversation, and used conventional marketing to get those stories out to other amateur photographers, with the Nikon brand added. That audience is then likely to tell others about the campaign (as I just have…) which is of course much more likely to spread a message virally than simple spam is.

If these amateur photographers were all fake, would people be as furious as they were when Lonelygirl was exposed as fiction?

2 thoughts on “bottom-up viral marketing?

  1. Martin

    Apropos botched viral marketing, there was some discussiong (some of which has now been,
    I think, deleted(!) as to whether or not the fan comments on this LJ community were in fact made by company representatives. Some of the research done by the users seemed substantial. Many were offended and there has been talk of a boycott.

  2. Garry

    There’s a discussion about this here.

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