Olympus Enlists 1,000 Shutterbugs for a Social Blitz
In our era of Instagram, traditional camera manufacturers have to work harder than ever to stay relevant. Olympus last September took the smartphone shutterbugs head-on to prove it’s still a player with its PEN Ready Project—a program that put its PEN E-PM1 camera into the hands of 1,000 consumers across North America.
The campaign targeted social media influencers and everyday people, inviting them to snap photos and upload them to a website where they could share their thoughts, their images and give consumers a taste of the photo quality the PEN provides. Because hey, if you can’t beat the technology, leverage technology to your advantage. To kick off the campaign, Olympus handed consumers in undisclosed locations throughout Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Toronto and near its headquarters in Lehigh Valley, PA, a kit with a free camera.
The consumers were invited to register on the custom-designed PEN Ready Tumblr site (penready.com) and join the community of PEN Ready folks uploading photos and videos to share with the world. The best photos were incorporated into an online ad campaign and on in-store displays. Olympus relied on key partnerships to fuel the campaign, involving both organic and targeted approaches. The brand teamed up with JetBlue Airways, handing out cameras to an unsuspecting flight of passengers, as well as providing a $1,000 JetBlue Getaways package to one PEN Ready photographer. Free cameras were handed out to a studio audience during “The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s” 12 days of giveaways promotion. Through the partnership with Tumblr, Olympus had access to Tumblr’s Top 100 bloggers, all of whom received free cameras. Top Instagram and Flickr users, celebrities, musicians and athletes were seeded to be advocates for the camera. In addition, working with Yamaha Motor Corporation, Olympus provided free cameras to 25 “scooter blogger” participants in the 2012 Zuma 50F Press Event in San Francisco.
Other social partnerships in the repertoire included Twitter, Facebook, Google+, StumbleUpon, Unruly Video, AOL Portrait and spongecell. You can still check out the gallery of images at penready.com. Scroll over an image and a message appears describing the type of lens or setting on the camera used to capture the image, a caption, or details about the photographer. In an age where it seems smartphone cameras are replacing traditional cameras, Olympus proved otherwise, selling its entire PEN E-PM1 inventory by the end of the second quarter.
The camera manufacturer saw a 178 percent rise in its social media reach during the campaign and also saw an increase in brand awareness of more than eight percentage points. As a testament to the power of leveraging content across social media platforms, the campaign received more than 622 million media impressions. Talk about pictures being worth a thousand words.