Word of Mouth in Action: Polaroid!

Here’s a great example from a company we all know . . .

“Throw a Polaroid camera into any social network and you’re guaranteed to get conversations started.

The people at Polaroid understand that.

When Polaroid decided to renew interest in instant photography among younger people, the company took its cameras on a road tour. The campaign vehicle parked outside the Exploratorium is a conversation piece in itself –a long motor home, completely wrapped in a colourful original design created especially for the tour. The vehicle parks in towns en route, and people who stop by are lent a Polaroid camera for a few hours.  The first year Polaroid attempted this, in 1996, people were asked to bring back a picture that showed their town; they were told the picture might eventually be selected as part of an art piece entitled “America: An Instant Self-Portrait.”

More than 30,000 instant photographs were collected from people around the country, and the event became part of tens of thousands of conversations. In 1997 the company used the promotion to reach college students during spring break. As you might expect, the camera became the center of thousands of social interactions on the street, at parties, and on the beach. The focus of the 1998 and 1999 tours was on preparing a time capsule with pictures that would describe life at the end of the millennium to future generations. The 1996 campaign generate 40 million media impressions and had 120,000 customers participate in the experience.

In the 1998 tour these numbers went up to 50 million and 200,000 respectively. We can only guess how many conversations were generated by participants. People tend to share pictures with their relatives and friends, and each participant got to keep half of the pictures for him or herself.” The Anatomy of Buzz – Emmanuel Rosen


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