Back to the Future

Pontiac and SAAB are two iconic brands that bit the dust in the past year. And they are just two of many to have “died” this recession. But a killed-off brand back from the dead is Polaroid. The brand that gave us the simplicity of producing pictures without the need for a darkroom; Polaroid is aiming for a come back. In this age of a digital revolution, you might wonder how effective it is.

On the latest episode of Gossip Girl called Inglorious Basterrds was featured an entire game around the brand, the game was called Assassin. This confusing marketing gimmick might click for some, but was amateurish and cringe worthy to say the least. They are forgiven(sarcasm, incase you didnt get it) because Blake Lively looked delicious at the same time, pulling off Polaroid photos from around people’s necks, and thereby “killing” them.

This was Polaroid’s second product placement … after Gaga going “gaga” about it in her Telephone video, and shock and horror, turning creative director of the cult brand. Let’s just hope some Gaga magic wears off on dear-old Polaroid.

The original Polaroid Company that also makes uber-cool sunglasses collapsed in 2008. The Impossible Project, a group of fans and investors pooled in resources and breathed life back into the brand, and gave it an alternate pedestal in this age of digital camera madness.

OK! Now for some history on the brand. Polaroid cameras were first manufactured by Edwin Land in 1947. The SX 70 version, which first went on sale in 1972, won over a whole generation to the fun of photography because of its simplicity; the rise of digital photography, combined with internal problems at the company, meant that Polaroid slowly declined before collapsing into Chapter 11 in 2001 and then again in 2008.

The Pogo, a hand-held printer that is as small as your palm went on sale around the world on Friday, July 4, 2008.New plans include producing film of two exposure types, each compatible with both the classic SX-70 cameras popular with artists and the more modern 600 series.Polaroid is a brand many hold dear to their hearts not because of the heavy clunky cameras but with the memories connected with it. Polaroid cameras gave the user instant gratification and that too with a picture on a paper, with printing speeds that even digital cameras are struggling to achieve. We can easily revive many brands from beyond its grave. My point is that everything has a cycle, or as marketers would call it the J-curve, you’ve built the brand and it declines, it would be better to refurbish that than to go out and build a new one,’.

Retro is in. Wayfarers are big today, and Ray-Ban recognised that. And the whole Morgan range of cars that is a niche brand, makes cars in the 50s era albeit with more refined engines. Many other brands are being retrofitted. The progression going from “Old”to“classic and anything with the “classic” label becomes cool.
Revival help the marketer reduce risk and achieve a “head start” over newer branding concepts and sustain jobs. “Whether the marketer dusts off an old advertising slogan or brings back a brand name from dormancy, the essence of revival’s effectiveness is this: if it worked once, it can work again. “

“The fundamental brand character and consumer proposition that helped a brand endure for fifty years, however, might help it endure for another fifty”. Certain truths about consumer behaviour remain just as evident all through time. Here’s me praying and hoping that Polaroid’s latest comeback is a comeback for good.

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