Saturday, 16 July 2011

Companies having a death wish

My friend says that he gets the shivers when he walks into a head office reception area and sees an aquarium  with goldfish. He means that the company has reached a peak and is looking to go downhill. Rather like when you hear that such and such company has implemented the "best of breed" or "world class" enterprise resource planning system (SAP). The equivalent of being nominated and displayed as the "man of the year" on Time Magazine.

The number of camera companies, particularly those with interchangeable lens cameras (DSLRs) has sharply reduced since the glory days of SLRs in the 1970s. Yashica. Contax. Minolta. Miranda. Chinon. Praktica. They're not there anymore. Mamiya, Fuji, Leica, Ricoh are shadows of their former selves. And now Pentax, a steady old faithful is being divorced from Hoya and being absorbed by Ricoh.

Camera historians will regale you with yarns and stories of how they bit the dust. But really, why are Canon and Nikon still around and dominating with 80% market share? It's because they are big enough, confident enough and conservative enough that they can just stand still whilst the smaller brands destroy themselves by senseless marketing, distribution and sales bloopers.

My favourite brand used to be Minolta. They're gone, consumed by the giant Sony. Now, my allegiance is with Olympus but they sure have a marketing and advertising deathwish. Remember the Kevin Spacey ads in US?

I like Kevin Spacey a lot. And his humour. But the ad just doesn't go down well.

Not to be outdone, the Aussies now have this:

This is actually a two part "clever" ad - this is the first point to intrigue or stir interest or chagrin. The second part is to come up with the punchline - Olympus offers three new REAL CAMERAS.

Thing is, you advertise to win new friends. You want 100% conversion if you can. If you use intended humour that doesn't work, i.e. offbeat or quirky humour, you're hoping that the viewer doesn't get alienated by the first point. If they are, the second point, the one-two punchline doesn't work and in fact infuriates them more.

I'm all for the innovation and the risk taking by Olympus engineers and management in kicking over the DSLR barrel and going mirrorless. But heck, for Pete's Sake, you don't have to gamble the house on the ads too!

What do you think?


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