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August 27, 2014
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December 2, 2010

Nikon-MWW Group Campaign a Picture-Perfect Example of How to Launch a One of its Kind Program

By Jim Bucci

The choice brand for pro photographers, Nikon began focusing on the amateur market as great technology became cheaper and amateurs were able to take world-class photos. To reach this wider audience, they incorporated celebrities like Ashton Kutcher into their promotions.

In 2008, Nikon and agency MWW Group found the perfect host for a new campaign in Carson Kressley, who'd achieved fame in the "Fab Five" of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and as the host of Lifetime's "How to Look Good Naked."

Kressley would be the host for 30 webisodes providing consumers with real advice on how to enhance their experience, while also expanding the Nikon brand to the amateur photography market.

The Challenge: Develop and launch a first of its kind campaign: "Nikon's 'Look Good in Pictures' program was the first of its kind, with no similar program to use as a reference when putting it together," explained MWW Group executive vice president Alissa J. Blate.

"To prevent the program from coming across as 'too commercial,' MWW partnered with Nikon to create authentic and timely content that would be of value to consumers, but that would also be relevant and tie back to the Nikon brand," she continued.

Virtually every aspect of the campaign was designed, produced, managed and created by MWW Group, especially oversight of the media relations efforts—from the initial negotiations with Carson's team to the management and maintenance of the "Ask Carson" and "News and Tips" sections of the website. The agency also managed the distribution of the campaign content to You Tube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr and RSS feeds.

The Strategy: Make the Nikon brand approachable for a consumer audience: The world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology, Nikon is globally recognized by photographers for setting new standards in product design, performance, high quality and innovation. To attract a broader consumer audience, Nikon and MWW Group launched "The Look Good in Pictures" campaign.

From October 2008 to October 2009, Nikon partnered Kressley with acclaimed photographers and stylists in more than 30 webisodes to give people real, practical advice on how to embrace photogenic qualities in a variety of everyday situations such as vacations, newborns and weddings.

"In addition to providing useful advice, the program built awareness for Nikon among a key audience, especially women bloggers, as the brand that makes being photographed fun and easy," said Blate.

She added: "The program was designed to make the Nikon brand synonymous with good pictures, whether it's behind or in front of the camera."

To best reach the younger, stylish audience and convey "fun, approachable and friendly," MWW focused on the consumers' experience with the cameras, rather than the cameras themselves. MWW also knew the campaign needed to be visceral and interactive. Therefore, rather than focus on megapixels, the program focused on moments through the webisodes series that showed how to look in various events.

The 30 webisodes featured topics ranging from newborns to Presidents, beaches to red carpets, weddings to New Years and more. MWW was then able to pitch media ranging from parenting and lifestyle to politics and celebrity. They placed a heavy focus on broadcast and online media to highlight the visual angles of the campaign.

"Once the public went to the site, we needed to maintain their interest," offered Blate. "Content included webisodes, news postings and 'Ask Carson' features that let Carson field questions directly from the audience. Topics ranged from nights out on the town to professional corporate pictures. In each one, viewers got to see Carson transform pictures from 'drab' to 'fab.'"

To leverage Nikon's proven track record and industry-leading one-on-one communication with the blogging community, Nikon attended BlogHer and organized an event, Carson Kressley at "Nikon Night Out." They held two events in Times Square in which Kressley and photographer Steve Simon offered photo clinics and style advice.

The Results: "The Look Good in Pictures" campaign generated more than 100 media impressions and hits in top outlets. The campaign garnered media hits in prestigious outlets like "The Tyra Banks Show," About.com, Extra!, LA Weekly, CBS's "The Early Show," Brides.com, AOL's Stylelist, CNET, the Washington Times and more. In addition, they successfully reached more than 80,000 visitors and 350,000 visits to the website in just the first 12 weeks of the campaign.

"Media hits were due in great part to the enthusiasm for Carson Kressley as an interviewee, particularly with the broadcast outlets," explained Blate.

The program also secured placements on popular blogs including "All About the Pretty," "I'm not Obsessed," "Swell Pregnancy," "Talking Makeup," "Mom in the City" and others. The campaign was also listed in the top five most popular on AOL's blog Holidash since the site's inception.

Secrets of Success: Read on as Blate offers more tips and explains why this campaign won Silver in "Best Use of Broadcast Video/Internet—Business/Consumer" at the 2009 Bulldog Awards for Excellence in Media Relations and Publicity.

  • Deliver value, not just a message: "Campaigns today are not just about communicating a message, they are about delivering value," she said. "Campaigns should always include a focus on delivering something of value to audiences."
  • Understand your audience—go beyond basic demos: "Know your audience's social profile," she explained. "It's not enough to create campaigns with basic demographic profiles. You need to know how and with whom they interact and who influences them."
  • Seek the input of key groups before your launch: "Get input from people within the target audience about the scope of a campaign before implementing it," she offered. "They may provide insight to make the program stronger or change the direction in a way that has a stronger impact."
  • Be able to adjust your campaign on the fly: "Flexibility is very important because audiences constantly give you feedback that the planning process can't always reveal," she said. "Be willing to adjust your campaign."

WINNER'S PROFILE: One of the nation's top public relations agencies, MWW Group offers expertise in consumer marketing, corporate communications, digital media strategies, investor relations, public affairs, government relations, sustainability, technology and healthcare. Named 2008 PR Agency of the Year by the American Business Awards, MWW Group is headquartered in New Jersey with offices in New York, Chicago, Dallas, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

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