I'm not a big fan of marketing. I'm not terribly good at it, and not terribly susceptible to it. (Although I sometimes practice a sort of anti-marketing reaction, consciously deciding not to buy a particular product, for example, as a response to an obnoxious advertisement or some other corporate transgression—I won't buy Nikes because they used John Lennon's "Revolution" in a commercial once (I'm particularly sensitive about the corporatization of art—so sue me), and I didn't stop at an Exxon for ten years after the Exxon Valdez disaster, on the premise that any company that lets a drunk take the helm of a supertanker is not to be encouraged. Take that, giant multinational juggernauts.)
But sometimes, even I am impressed. Nikon has recently run what I consider to be an exemplary ad campaign, called Picturetown. The idea is direct and pleasingly didactic: the marketers took a bunch of D40s and D80s and put them in the hands of a bunch of ordinary people in particular towns. (Watch the little video called "The Story.") What's not to like about that idea? You introduce a lot of people to photographing with good cameras, get a lot of nice-but-real pictures, and trigger some actual (as opposed to virtual) viral marketing. Nice idea, and I approve—whoever thought up Picturetown should get a raise, or at least a big vacation bonus and a hearty pat on the back. Even if it should prove ineffective as marketing, it's doing some good for photography, which right there is more than you can say for most marketing campaigns. Nice work, Nikon.
So guess what I stumbled across the other day at my local big box store? A really cool store display with another super idea. Some genius at Sony (and this is one of the rare occasions when I'm using the term "genius" without irony—mark your calendars) simply yanked the sensor out of an A100 and mounted it behind a clear Plexiglas plate. The camera it came out of is still hardwired to it, though, so as you move the camera body, you can see the internal image stabilization work.
Regular readers of this space know what a fan I am of image stabilization, and I hereby refuse to tell you how long I played with this display. (My ever-unruly Gear Acquisition Syndrome misfired, too, when I felt an urge to buy the thing—no, not an A100, the display.) One thing I noticed—Sony's "Super SteadyShot" IS deals with yaw and up-and-down and side-to-side motion well, but apparently can't compensate for twist (planar rotation). Good to know.
Anyway, I was delighted to see this. If you ever meet the Sony marketing person who came up with this idea, give them a well-deserved pat on the back for me, willya?
Featured Comment by Jernej: "Sorry to burst your bubble, Mike (about the genius at Sony), but that antishake display thingie was already quite a hit back in the days when Minolta was still around—Photokina 2004."
Mike replies: Oh. Well. First time I'd seen it. I guess Minolta marketing is not likely to get its just rewards now, eh?