Friday, January 18, 2008

Ad-tracker: Pop Photo (February 2008) - reviewing the ads!

Welcome to another edition of the Ad Tracker. This entertaining feature looks at some of the ads of interest in various publications. We are a poor blog, so we can't afford to review the Nikon D3, but it is (just barely) within our budget to review ads in magazines :) Sometimes the ads can be more interesting than the stories, eg the Super Bowl ;-)

Today's victim subject is the February 2008 edition of Popular Photography and Imaging magazine. The magazine can be purchased at your local news-stand but you can also buy single issues online at Amazon.

This edition is quite interesting because a couple of cameras that were just announced at CES 2008 are advertised in the magazine. Rumor hunters, be sure to check the next editions of Pop Photo as early as you can! You may get the scoop ahead of time!

But before we go into the ads themselves, we have to join other websites and blogs in saying farewell to Herbert "Burt" Keppler, one of the most recognizable people in the world of photography.

As mentioned above, a full one-page ad of the Casio EX P1 is the most buzzworthy ad in this edition. Found on page 35, Casio boldy goes after DSLRs in terms of shooting speed. Casio makes the case of blazing speeds at full resolution versus the "limited" fps speed of DSLRs. Oh boy, Casio better be ready to deliver, because they are making bold statements. While Casio is not exactly known for their prosumer cameras, they had their share in the earlier days of digital cameras. They use the picture of a glass shuttering as an example of the speed-demon capabilities of the EX P1. Not sure if the red liquid in the glass is wine or cranberry juice ;-)

The next camera that was just announced at CES 2008 and has a two-page ad is the Samsung NV24 HD, with Samsung almost wasting one of the pages to showcase the high definition capabilities of the NV24 HD. In our opinion this ad is more targetted towards the "gadgetology" crowd, it's not a photographer-priority ad. Unlike the Casio ad mentioned above that went straight at DSLRs.

Olympus goes on the attack with a two-page ad featuring the Olympus E510 taking pictures out in the wild. Bonus points go to Olympus for creating an ad that shows a photographer's view of the picture taking process with the E510. About as close to handling the camera yourself as you can get on paper! Definitely a photographer-priority ad.

They have a similar one-page ad showcasing the Olympus E3, shown as if you were handling it. This ad includes a short quote from Olympus Visionary Larry Price. This too is a very photographer-priority ad.

Nikon boldly touts the Nikon D300 and blankets all the other DSLRs as "compromise". Oh my! This was an ad engineered to generate DSLR lust, with a Nikon-yellow background and the D300 itself being the center of the attention. This is followed by a two page ad of a motorcycle race advertising the D3. This is the picture used in the Nikon D3 poster which was included in a previous edition of Pop Photo and other print magazines.

There is also a two-page Mentor Series ad, promoting a photographic workshop in Turkey, for the affordable price of $3300. How can you afford it? Buy a D300 instead of a D3 :-)

Another ad of interest is the promotion of the new Nikon Universe page hosted by Pop Photo. This is a gear-lust priority ad. Beware, visiting that page may cause you to sell your house and buy every single Nikon lens out there :)

Pentax goes all out with a six-page ad segment, a magazine within a magazine if you like. The ad starts with the "peddling inspiration" theme which we do not like at all. It reminds us of people asking for change outside fast-food chains. Then four Pentaxians are featured, each one given a full page, showcasing some of their work, and some of their "Pentaxianism". The Pentaxian-Photographers featured are Mark Dimalanta, Kerrick James, Julie Quarry, and Godfrey DiGiorgi. The nano-magazine ends with a promo for a Pentax photo cruise. A floating Pentaxian paradise!

While we do not like the "peddling" theme, we do like the rest of the ads, and the fact that Pentax is personalizing their themselves by spotlighting actual Pentax users. A very photographer-priority sequence of ads for sure.

Sigma features four classic photography ads, three of them promoting their Sigma 50-150 F2.8 II EX DC HSM, Sigma 18-200 DC OS f3.5-6.3, and Sigma 70-200 F2.8 II EX DG MACRO HSM lenses, and one promoting the Foveonesque SD14 DSLR.

Sony has a two page spread promoting their "Digital Days" photo workshops around the country, with the A700 and Cybershot H3 shown in the ads. These are general purpose ads, but they are certainly photographer-friendly.

Sony also gets the prestigious back-cover of the magazine, and there they showcase their (D)SLR system with the new Sony A700 being the center of attention.

We think the rechargeable AA Nimh batteries that retain their charge over time are a great idea, so we were thrilled to see a Sanyo Eneloop ad. These are great when you don't drain the batteries on a daily basis.

Calumet Photo has a one-page ad, using photographer Brian Kuhlmann to showcase the benefits of shopping Calumet. This ad is directly targeting professional photographers, and they do a very good job at it! This feels like an election ad that actually gets straight to the core of the message, instead of dancing around or attacking other candidates. We liked it.

This issue of Pop Photo has some nice photographer-priority ads, along with some gear-lust ads. Bonus points for the very early ads for the newly announced Casio EX F1 and Samsung NV24HD. Also bonus points go to the Olympus viewpoint ads, and to the Pentaxian nano-magazine, even though we do not like the "peddling" theme. There's plenty more ads we did not cover, we are only covering the ones that we think are of interest from a photographic and gadgetology perspective.

Did you notice something?
We did not mention Canon! Why? Because we did not find a Canon ad!

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