You probably have seen the Nikon commercials where girls steal Ashton Kutcher’s camera and they take flirtatious pictures with it. Frankly, I find the commercials annoying, but does that mean it is a bad advertisement? Nikon needs to sell cameras and the money isn’t coming from geeks like me who take apart broken antique cameras in their spare time. The money comes with selling tons of cameras to the vast majority of people who aren’t particularly interested in photography as an art form. The truth is that cameras serve a different purpose in modern society than it does for people like me. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, it just isn’t me.
Today the camera is a status symbol. The camera is a fashion accessory. The camera is a social toy. To the average person it is just a way to document your life and have some fun. So perhaps the Nikon spots are brilliant. With a market flooded with affordable digital cameras what do you do to stand apart from the pack? More megapixels? New technology? People expect a camera to take good photos and have the latest features. To sell more product camera makers have to find another way to differentiate themselves.
Nikon’s answer is to sell a lifestyle. The Nikon commercial appeals to the average person not because it is pushing “speed and a Nikon lens,” but because it is selling a way of life. Girls like the idea of using a camera to flirt with that cute guy. Guys like the idea of taking advantage of clueless babes. And this all happens in the context of some kind of party that you wish you were invited to. Sex, status, and a party lifestlye. The formula works for beer and deoderant, why not cameras? I guess all that is left to do is smile and say cheese.