Polaroid Thinks Global

Polaroid Corp. has solicited image ideas from the lead shops on its $130 million global advertising account and may invite other roster and nonroster agencies to submit proposals, sources said.
Top executives at the Cambridge, Mass.-based company have in recent weeks heard presentations from its U.S. agency–Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco–and Bartle Bogel Hegarty in London, which handles the client’s advertising in Europe, said Alison Corcoran, vice president of marketing at Polaroid.
Both Goodby and BBH presented ideas on how Polaroid can assume “a global approach” across its consumer photography, digital technology, business imaging and children’s product lines, Corcoran said. However, the client will likely look beyond those two creatively focused shops for agencies with more traditional packaged-goods expertise, sources said.
Jerry Noonan, Polaroid’s former general manager of consumer business in North America who recently assumed the newly created position of vice president of global marketing at the company, could form a select list of outside shops to submit global branding strategies, sources said. Noonan could not be reached for comment.
Corcoran confirmed that Polaroid is considering inviting other roster shops, which includes Arnold Communications in Boston, as well as outside agencies to pitch ideas, but said, “We are not at that point yet.”
Executives at Goodby, BBH and Arnold either declined to comment or could not be reached.
The parameters of a global assignment were unclear at press time. The work could include all or part of Goodby’s $55 million U.S. account and possibly incorporate BBH’s European ad business as well.
One scenario, according to sources, is that Polaroid could ask Goodby to execute product-specific campaigns using a new worldwide image positioning developed by another agency, which sources said Goodby may not be willing to do.
Despite multiple creative kudos for the “See what develops” campaign, which Goodby created shortly after winning the U.S. account a few years ago, Polaroid’s sales have continued to decline.
The instant photography company last week announced worldwide third-quarter sales of $449 million, compared with $516 million a year ago. Domestic sales were flat. The company posted a $127 million loss last year, following declines of $41 million in 1996 and $140 million in 1995.
Unhappy that sales have continued to sag, Polaroid may consolidate its advertising with one global shop, but that change is not likely to happen soon, sources said.
Goodby’s next big advertising push for Polaroid is due in November and will launch a single-use instant camera called Pop Shots. Arnold is expected to collaborate with Goodby on the introduction, providing ancillary support for in-store promotions and events, sources said.
Polaroid will need ad support next year for a trio of major product introductions. In addition to the launch of Pop Shots, the company will unveil the “world’s smallest instant camera and film,” slated for global distribution by midyear, as well as a low-cost version of the JoyCam/Captiva camera, which will roll out in the U.S. and Europe.
Polaroid spent $55 million on domestic advertising last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. The company is on track to spend a similar amount this year, per CMR.