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Curious and curiouser

Two or three times a week a press release arrives in the email which has absolutely nothing to do with anything we write about here at PhotoCounter. Call it spin doctor spam.

‘…the research showed over half of all Australians feel most curious when travelling or visiting new places,’ said Canon’s Jason McLean.

Things like: ‘International Women’s Day 2018 – Empowering the Women – Beauty + Health Campaign’; or ‘Private health insurers’ profits grow while rebates shrink’; or this one which came in earlier this week: ‘Research reveals curiosity key to happiness, but undervalued.’

It continued: ‘New research shows the vast majority of Australians believe being curious is crucial for our mental health and wellbeing. But is exploring the unknown valued in Australia?’

‘Who knows and who cares’ was the (incurious) passing thought. But hang on a minute! This wasn’t the daily serving of generic spam – this was from Canon:  ‘A study released today by Canon Australia probing the state of curiosity across the country has found that two thirds agree the nation doesn’t recognise or reward curiosity enough.’

Well I have to admit my curiosity levels rose! I will leave a link to the full press release at the bottom of this story so readers can judge for themselves whether the connection being drawn between curiosity and cameras is marketing gold but to distill what’s going on here, it appears that Canon has funded a study by associate professor Maria Kangas of Macquarie University’s Department of Psychology, on, well, the state of curiousness in Australia. (At least we hope Canon funded it!)

By spending money on an academic study into curiosity, the marketing people at Canon seem to think they can encourage folk to be more curious, and when they are more curious they will take more pictures. Or something like that. Anyway, it looks like curiosity is Canon’s word for 2018.

As part of the Canon ‘Bring Your Curiosity’ campaign, they paid for a ‘self-confessed uncurious’ (sic) 72-year-old woman to travel back to her birthplace in Greece for the first time in six decades, and sent a film crew to make a podcast of the trip.

The psychology professor then concluded that the woman’s ‘“social curiosity” and “joyous exploration” markers had improved dramatically – leading to a measurable lift in her sense of well-being.’ Well, she went on an free overseas holiday with a Canon M50 camera thrown in, she was the star of a podcast, and she enjoyed it. Who would have guessed?   

There will be another two ‘self-confessed uncurious’ (sic) individuals who will be ‘sent…on an adventure beyond their comfort zones’ as part of the campaign.

The campaign has been put together by upmarket ad agency Leo Burnett. So we are talking millions of dollars. According to a story on the Leo Burnett website, it will involve ‘out of home’ (OOH) advertising, ‘cross-track’ TV (digital screens in store, we think), TV on demand (that would be podcasts), digital and social media, plus PR support. It will run until September. Stories of the next two travellers will be rolled out over the next two months.

Seems like advertorial is also part of the mix, given this Canon-sponsored feature in The Guardian website.

We went back to Canon to seek clarification and more details and they responded promptly and with far more clarity than the initial press release on the thinking behind the campaign…

Q: Is the Curiosity platform a major project for Canon in 2018, and how long will it run?
‘Bring Your Curiosity’ is a significant milestone for Canon, where we’ve delved into the state of curiosity in Australia to continue driving a memorable brand experience for our consumers, who are at the core of what we do. While content will continue being rolled out until September, the platform will underline all Canon’s camera-led initiatives moving forward, creating an emotional connection to our well-established camera brand.
Q: Is there any broadcast spend (TV) or is the program contained online?
While there are no TVCs planned at this time, a Canon-sponsored TV integration with a leading Channel Ten program is set to go live in July.
Q: Is there any Curiosity-related activity in-store/POS?
Yes, the campaign will feature in-store at POS, in addition to running across OOH, digital and social channels.
Q: Is the communications objective to promote picture-taking and/or purchase of Canon products from the Canon online store, or is there some other goal?
Canon Australia is committed to helping consumers put more of their authentic selves into the world. This campaign encourages them to go beyond their comfort zones and explore their surroundings with a camera in hand, especially when they embark on their travels. While not the main agenda of the campaign, consumers are encouraged to purchase their cameras of choice from any leading retailer or Canon’s eStore. We believe that curiosity be satisfied in a number of ways, and certainly by viewing the world through a different lens.

Back to the press release: ‘When faced with a host of activities, the research showed over half of all Australians feel most curious when travelling or visiting new places, so we put this to the test,’ explained Canon Consumer Imaging director, Jason McLean. ‘During her travels, it was heartening to see Irene [the Greek lady] use her camera to view the world differently, and unlock new and exciting experiences on the way. Her journey has been a truly inspiring one, and is testament to the fact that there is no age limit for becoming more curious and living a fuller life.’

– So it looks like Canon has rolled the dice on this sophisticated but quite ‘out there’ marketing exercise in  what looks like its big 2018 marketing spend. The Bring Your Curiosity website links to the Canon online store. There is no retail store locator. (Retailers supporting the Canon campaign with POS, etc, for this campaign might consider asking for that to be added to the website.) It’s difficult to understand how it will move a lot of extra Canon cameras from retailers’ shelves, but I guess that’s why these marketing and ad agency people get the big bucks.  

Full press release: Canon ‘Curiosity’ campaign







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