By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Polaroid used International CES as a sort of coming-out party for the brand under the direction of PLR IP Holdings and Summit Global by presenting musical artist Lady Gaga as the spokeswoman and “creative director” for a line of imaging products.
The “multi-year” partnership will leverage Lady Gaga's popularity in the music and fashion worlds to attract attention for the brand's new directions in photography and imaging.
Part of the direction involves the brand's return to instant “Polaroid Land” photography, Scott Harvey, Polaroid president, said.
“Polaroid puts a smile on people's faces. It's fun, simple and really connects people,” Harvey said. “As we look to the future of Polaroid, it is really about redefining instant for the digital age.”
Harvey explained that the company will pursue the market using three key approaches: listening, inspiring and “building really great products.”
Harvey said that when the former controllers of the Polaroid brand announced the end of the instant-film and camera businesses, “there was a resounding shockwave from fans around the world, who did not want to see this wonderful technology go away.”
Last October, the company announced that with its strategic partners it would bring back instant-film products.
One of the first products will be the PIC 1000, which is slated for arrival in the second half of 2010. Harvey described the camera as “an inspiration of the Polaroid One Step,” with a modern twist on that icon.
The company said it will also be making the instant film available again, in the black-and-white and color formats.
To inspire, Harvey announced Polaroid's involvement in the “Hope is a Game Changer” project that aims to “make a difference in the world” through outreach to third-world people, offering things like indestructible soccer balls that children and young adults can use for years, despite the crushing presence of hostile forces.
Philanthropist, photographer and Polaroid/Gordon Bros (one of the co-owners of the brand along with Hilco) board member Bobby Sager, along with music icon Sting, developed the charity to provide the inspirational items to economically hard-pressed people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, the Congo and other impacted locations.
The Lady Gaga signing was another way in which Polaroid will seek to inspire its development teams and consumers alike, Harvey said.
“As we thought about the future, we knew we needed a strategic, creative partner who was highly relevant, and exceptionally creative, to move us into the future,” Harvey said.
In announcing the arrangement, Lady Gaga stated: “I am so proud to announce my new partnership with Polaroid as the creative director and inventor of specialty projects.
“The Haus of Gaga has been developing prototypes in the vein of fashion/technology/photography innovation — blending the iconic history of Polaroid and instant film with the digital era — and we are excited to collaborate on these ventures with the Polaroid brand. Lifestyle, music, art, fashion — I am so excited to extend myself behind the scenes as a designer, and to, as my father puts it, finally have a real job,” she added.
Stephen Miller, co-CEO of PLR IP Holdings, said, “Lady Gaga's broad creative talents and the way she connects with her fans in her own, unique manner made her a natural choice for Polaroid … and we are delighted to be partnering with Lady Gaga to continue with that tradition and bring new and exciting products to the next generation.”
The collaboration's resulting products are expected to be available at retail in late 2010.
Jon Pollock, Polaroid chief marketing officer, said resulting products will be marketed by Polaroid under the Lady Gaga brand.
Polaroid will use the mantra “Instantly More Fun” in designing and marketing its products.
One of the more recent new introductions was the Polaroid PoGo ($199) portable instant digital camera and printer combination, which was launched a year and a half ago.
Billed as a “full-feature digital camera,” the PoGo allows consumers to select from among the digital photos on the camera, crop or edit them, add borders and print 2-inch by 3-inch prints in less than 60 seconds.
The camera uses Zink Photo Paper and Zink Zero Ink printing technology from Zink Imaging. This uses an ink-free printing technology that replaces ink cartridges or ribbons with Zink photo paper, which is explained as a composite material that has embedded, heat-activated dye crystals.
At CES, Pollock announced the launch of “an entire line of Zink products,” including larger-format Zink printers and cameras that use 3- by 4-inch media, which is the same size as Polaroid's classic instant film.
The 3- by 4-inch printer, which is due out in the second half of the year, prints wirelessly from a Bluetooth connection or directly from a digital still camera. It operates from a lithium-ion battery that will enable printing anywhere.
“The beauty of this is, how many people have images stuck on their cellphones that they have never printed before? This will allow you to print directly from the cellphone to the printer,” Pollock explained.
The company is also working on a printer that will produce 4- by 6-inch prints using Zink technology, slated for introduction later in the year, he said.
Also slated for the second half is a 3- by 4-inch digital camera, he said.
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