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2012 PRO Award Winner, Best Promotion: Grey Alliance for Canon USA

By Sep 14, 2012

In addition to winning a number of categories for which it was entered, Canon's 2011 campaign from Grey Alliance also won the PRO Awards category to which the judges themselves nominate selected finalists; the overall Best Promotion category. Congratulations to Canon and Grey and to all the PRO Awards winners, who can be found listed here. Here's a writeup and gallery of the winning Canon campaign:

Canon was competing in a tough market against Nikon and wanted to elevate its digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras among consumers. To regain leadership, generate awareness and engage consumers, the Grey Alliance positioned the brand as the ultimate creative enabler, leveraging the endless creative possibilities Canon offered both as a still camera and in the HD video market.

“Long Live Imagination” was launched with “Project Imagin8ion,” a user-generated photo contest that inspired a Hollywood short film created by filmmaking icon Ron Howard.

For three weeks (May to June), consumers were encouraged to join Youtube.com/imagination, the contest hub. Photos covered eight movie themes: setting, time, character, mood, relationship, goal, obstacle and the unknown.

Howard and a group of Canon experts narrowed down the submissions, then online voters chose the finalists and Howard picked the eight winning photos that would inspire his next production, to be shot with Canon digital SLRs and the Cinema EOS System. Howard’s daughter Bryce Dallas Howard would direct the short film, providing cross-generational appeal.

A television spot titled “Parade” conveyed Howard’s imagination piqued by a wall of user-submitted photos. The visuals functioned as the trailer for the film consumers would inspire, driving submissions. A YouTube homepage takeover and digital ad campaign followed.

Throughout production, Canon engaged its audience through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and PR, including top media placements such as “The Today Show” and “Huffington Post,” and a local media strategy highlighting the winners as hometown heroes.

On Nov. 15, “When You Find Me” had its world premiere at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The eight winners and guests were flown in to meet Ron Howard and walk the red carpet. More than 600 guests experienced the project’s journey by walking through an immersive gallery of nearly 100,000 printed submissions on their way to the first screening.

Throughout the winter and spring of 2012, the film aired nationwide, with screenings at the Sundance, South by Southwest and Tribeca Film Festivals. Consumers were also able to view it online.

Festival attendees could tap into the inspiration with the “Frame Your Imagin8ion” sweepstakes for the chance to win a Canon EOS DSLR kit. Street teams handed out kits encouraging consumers to capture photos that best represented each of the eight movie themes featured in the contest. Consumers uploaded just under 100,000 photos during the 22-day sweepstakes. One daily winner was chosen.

The website generated more than 1.16 million visits, and the online premiere received slightly over 74,000 views. Canon’s share in detachable lens cameras increased from 31.6% prior to the campaign to 50.5% in October, with Black Friday, the day of the movie’s premiere, reaching 71.7%, making November the best month in Canon history. 

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