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Polaroid-Brand Digicams To Be Sold By Uniden

In a move designed to broaden the retail penetration of its Polaroid-branded digital camera lineup, World Wide Licenses (WWL) has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with phone maker Uniden.

Under the agreement, Uniden will assume responsibility for distributing WWL’s Polaroid digital cameras into U.S. retail outlets, particularly consumer electronics dealers, starting immediately.

WWL was granted the exclusive rights to manufacture and sell digital cameras under the Polaroid brand in the wake of Polaroid’s bankruptcy, in September 2002 and initially tapped Chicago-based Spectra Merchandizing to bring the products to market.

Now, Uniden’s national sales team will be responsible for cracking U.S. sales channels for WWL. Spectra will continue to distribute WWL’s line of Cool-iCam digital cameras.

“We loved working with Spectra, they were a great partner and did great things for us, I can’t stress that enough” said Stephen Golden, executive VP, sales and marketing, WWL. “It was simply a matter of going to the next level and tapping accounts where Uniden was strong in, especially CE.”

According to Golden, WWL was introduced to Uniden through a mutual Canadian distributor, AVS Technologies.

Spectra president Patricia Schoenberg said that while the company enjoyed success marketing the Polaroid line to mass retail, the overall camera market was witnessing “DVD-like” price compression, making it harder to sell a diversified product line to buyers who were looking strictly for low priced 2- and 3-megapixel models.

As for Uniden, the WWL deal is the first time the company has assumed distribution duties for a third party, said president and CEO Al Silverberg. “It’s not a trend or a new business strategy, we are fully committed to our core product lines in phones and radios,” he stressed.

Rather, the move was more a marriage of convenience and an overlap of buyers in phones and digital cameras, Silverberg said.

“Polaroid is a great brand and this also gives us an opportunity to expand our brand into new markets,” Silverberg said.