Media: Strategy Snalysis - Canon trains lens on DSLR technology

Brand: Canon EOS 400D
Client: Canon UK
Brief: Launch the successor to the EOS 350D, pushing DSLR photography as
a trend and claiming the leadership of the DSLR category and photography
for Canon
Target audience: "Explorers" - a predominantly male audience who feel
connected and interested in the world and the environment surrounding
Budget: Undisclosed

Media: BJK&E


The campaign objective was to engage the "explorer" audience, demystify SLR photography, grow awareness, develop brand engagement and maintain Canon's leadership position. Explorers blur the line between entertainment and information, resulting in a strategy to align all communication in infotainment environments.

The strategy insight was that explorers' way of behaving and living in their infotainment world is "play, share, learn".


A strategy was developed where relevant multiple-platform media brands permitted this level of engagement to communicate the product features, benefits and brand values.

- Media partnerships: A key element of the execution was leveraging media brands which typified those geared towards explorers, allowing a relevant and credible discourse, especially to a broader audience.

Two brands were selected: New Scientist, to reach a hardcore of explorers, and The Independent, to increase the understanding of SLR photography within a more mainstream explorer audience.

- Play: Within both partnerships, explorers were encouraged to play with the brand and photography, via photography competitions, with microsites for both providing a dedicated EOS partnership location.

- Share: Explorers were encouraged to upload photographs to enter the competition, and this was developed into offline environments, with commended and winning photography being published.

Involvement was grown by allowing users to blog and comment on the photography, as well as editorial staff blogging on the respective sites, fuelling the discussions and offering advice. The Independent went one step further, with the campaign extending to one of the photography editorial staff blogging about the EOS on their own Independent blog.

- Learn: Product features and benefits were positioned in photography editorial produced for the promotion, giving a credible and authoritative environment for audience information farming. The community basis of the microsites also generated user discourse in the form of advice and encouragement.

- Outdoor, online, TV and print: Supporting and maintaining the campaign across its duration were substantial outdoor online, print and TV campaigns aligned strategically into explorer environments, such as outdoor formats in areas of cultural significance, National Geographic, CNTraveller, weekend press supplements, More4, Discovery Channel and Channel 4.


The campaign ran from October to December last year and ensured that Canon remained the number one DSLR manufacturer, despite strong competition from Sony and Samsung, which both launched DSLRs.

The media partnerships fulfilled their vital role. The New Scientist promotion was the most-looked-at area of the site during the campaign, with 100,000 visitors to the microsite, plus several thousand entries and blogged comments. The Independent delivered 1.2 million visitors, 2,500 entries, several thousand blogged comments and more than 5,000 votes.

THE VERDICT - Niku Banaie managing partner, Naked Communications

A photography class should be a requirement in all educational programmes, because it makes you see the world, rather than just look at it. This ability, to observe its nuances, the behaviours and patterns, are critical to anyone working in communication, and makes the difference between average and inspired thinking.

The Canon EOS 400D is designed for the semi-pro or serious amateur, and comes from a highly respected pedigree. This is reflected online, with many advocates professing their allegiance to the EOS platform. So, we have a strong established user-base, which is vocal online and is passionate about photography - a healthy foundation for this campaign.

At its heart is the identification of a consumer group called "explorers", whose differentiating insight seems to be how they blur the line between information and entertainment - resulting with a focus on infotainment environments. What were interesting were the behaviours the team identified, which could have influenced the entire campaign, but in this instance manifested themselves with media partnerships. The behaviours of "play, share and learn" were directly expressed through the use of photography competitions with two media partners. There has been some talk recently on who is best equipped to come up with ideas - media owners or media agencies - with the IPA holding a discussion on the topic. In this instance, neither have delivered breakthrough thinking.

Photography competitions without a tighter brief are too generic (I found two in less than five minutes between brands and media owners online). The advertorials positioned next to the competitions seemed to be like extended sales catalogues and, fundamentally, there seemed to be no central idea to the campaign - not enough entertainment in the infotainment.

The three behaviours identified could have been brought to life in much more interesting ways, ideally engaging the existing advocates, as well as allowing pictures taken on the Canon to be the stars, as opposed to promoting the DSLR category - it simply doesn't differentiate Canon enough otherwise. It would have been great to see how the TV, outdoor, online and print worked in line with these behaviours, too.

Score: 2 out of 5.