12600_medA slight diversion from normal news to comment on how the camera makers are approaching this busy peak selling time. There is no doubt if I am being honest that I did not expect any TV advertising this Christmas after the economic situation of the last year. So it has been a pleasant surprise to see photography on the big screen competing with those endless supermarket price comparison sequences.

TV advertising has always seemed to me a bit of a gamble for many camera companies due to the sheer cost. That may have dropped due to those aforementioned economics, but that aside, it is a quick way to use up lots of a marketing budget. Im no expert and I dont know if this is more rewarding than say advertising in magazines on mass.

Panasonic certainly seem the most prominent. Such a big company they are still trying to establish their brand further as a serious player in digital capture. So apart from compacts, that DMC-G1 advert has caught my eye. Nice concept and clearly aiming at a young audience and dare I say with a noticeable target of the female photographer also. You know the one, the balloon held in front of the face for a funny shot. While it is a camera that looks good for anyone, I believe all manufacturers are aware that a big growth area to be coveted in future D SLR sales is the female market. Sounds fine to me as the more people enjoying their image making the better in what has been for so long a largely male dominated interest. That is also increasingly apparent on our courses as we have lots more ladies attending than a few years ago.

Nikon have been promoting the Coolpix line on some channels up until the end of November. That makes sense for any company who have to move a lot of compact cameras to gain market share. The theory goes that while more experienced shooters also want something small and easy to use alongside an SLR option when traveling light or simply to keep in the car ready for example, those starting with point and shoot cameras may stick with the brand when and if they upgrade to a D SLR if their experiance has been a pleasant one. Again a young target audience is clear in the Nikon ad for the Coolpix range. Personally along with Canon, Nikon’s strength to me is in the vast system with a camera for everyone being the message. So Im pleased that shorter sequences are apparently highlighting D SLR products.

For me though the Olympus ads with Kevin Spacey promoting the Digital Pen was the most interesting. How many Olympus expect to sell I do not know, but it must be a fair few to warrant this. One of my Partner companies also publish Olympus User magazine and the feedback I got was just what a nice guy Kevin Spacey was. Generally in my experience most well known people I have dealt with have been just the same.. But who is missing? Sony?, Samsung? Canon? Or have I just missed them?

On my travels in recent weeks I have noticed Canon advertising on billboards EOS 7D. A nicely specified camera I have as yet at least, not seen any TV advertising from Canon. They have done quite a lot of that in recent years and I found it noticeable for its absence. That said it may just be the company are finding alternatives more practical.

Regardless of all of this, digital photography is in danger of being overcomplicated with its most basic aspect. Depending on the brand, we have full frame cameras (35mm sized sensors) FX, DX, various APS sensor sizes, 4/3rds and micro 4/3rds formats. So have some sympathy for someone trying to buy that wonderful present after being inspired by any form of advertising. But also pity the poor sales staff in camera shops up and down these isles when they get that time honored question…Im thinking of buying someone a camera for Christmas. Just where do they start?

End. (15/12/09).