The Marketing Kefluffles of 2024

Panasonic seems to have stepped in it, but every camera maker is suddenly checking their shoes.

With the Panasonic S9 launch two different issues came to light: (1) Panasonic had used stock images from other camera makes in their marketing for the S9; and (2) a well-known YouTuber implied that Panasonic was playing favorites with invites to a pre-release event.

I'm not really going to comment on #2 other than to say all of the pre-announcement things camera companies do is absolutely marketing oriented, and in particular, targeted at driving up sales upon announcement. Camera manufacturers have specific ideas of how they want their launch announcement to be amplified by others. It's a marketing department decision as to whom to invite to events or give early access to. Frankly, I too think the Japanese camera makers are making bad decisions there, but if you look at sales numbers, the first few months of sales for a product are the most important, and that's where they're focused: goosing the initial demand. So-called influencers are the cheapest way of amplifying a message, and the camera companies want that message to be 100% positive.

It's #1 that's the real problem. Moreover, it's been a real problem for decades, as Panasonic's mea culpa eventually revealed. Essentially, Panasonic tried to explain their way out of the problem by saying that their Web site was established over 20 years ago to promote video cameras, and that the original idea of using images not necessarily from the device being promoted was established then. This is shorthand for saying "our marketing department has always taken shortcuts." Almost everything Panasonic has said on the problem so far has just made it worse. 

Panasonic entered the still digital camera market with LUMIX branding in 2001, so what Panasonic is really saying is that they've been using this practice of using stock photos to illustrate what their cameras do for two+ decades. 

Sankei-Shimbun in Japan went to the trouble of asking each of the major camera makers whether or not they use the same practice. I could have predicted the answers, because the answer is mostly some form of yes. 

Specifically, Canon was quoted as saying that they used such images, but not in "photos that promote performance". Hmm. That's an interesting equivocation. Sony said that they used such images, but always identify the equipment used. I'm not 100% certain that that's completely true. I seem to recall past Sony marketing where that wasn't true; maybe things have changed. Nikon said that they never use such images to "introduce features and performance." In general, I believe Nikon has been true to that claim for quite some time: their current marketing materials process for almost every launch requires images from their ambassadors or launch partner photographers and often are very last minute in getting finalized because of that. (I don't know why Nikon "hides" their brochures for the cameras, but if you can find one, you'll see that the images are pretty much all delineated with photographer, camera, and lens information, and many of those images or sequences related to them also show up in the Web site materials.)

There is an interesting side to all this, though, and that's a pretty simple question that you should ask: at which point during/after a new camera launch do you feel confident in what it can and can't do? And why?

 Looking for gear-specific information? Check out our other Web sites:
DSLRS: | mirrorless: | Z System: | film SLR: all text and original images © 2024 Thom Hogan
portions Copyright 1999-2023 Thom Hogan
All Rights Reserved — the contents of this site, including but not limited to its text, illustrations, and concepts,
may not be utilized, directly or indirectly, to inform, train, or improve any artificial intelligence program or system.