Kodak “Dripping”

To familiar villains like Big Oil and Big Pharma we can now, thanks to this commercial, add another: Big Ink. Promoting Kodak printers “that only use fairly priced ink,” the spot (by Deutsch New York) does a vigorous job of attacking “the big printer companies” whose overpriced ink last year drained $5 billion more than it should have from Americans’ wallets. Indeed, the attack is so vigorous that a viewer may not be entirely sure whether it’s meant partly as a joke. The style is reminiscent of those political attack ads that expose the malfeasance of some evil incumbent. Then, when the screen switches from ominous ink-black-on-white visuals to a colorful shot of cute kids, the abrupt contrast (emphasized by the introduction of some lullabyesque piano music) seems almost tongue in cheek. Whether deliberate or not, the oddity of tone is a mild distraction from what’s otherwise an effective jab at Kodak’s competition in this category. People who own printers do resent the amount they end up paying for ink, so the commercial is tapping into a sentiment that’s waiting to find an outlet. And consumers have warm feelings about Kodak, dating back to their younger days when every family had a Kodak camera. So, they’ll be predisposed to accept the claim that the company won’t gouge them when it comes to buying ink for their printers. –Mark Dolliver