PhotoWorks Seeks Picture-Perfect Campaign Piece

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PhotoWorks is rolling out an effort to stake its claim in the online photo services market using more than 10 million direct mail pieces as well as television, print publication and online advertising.


Gary Tashjian, vice president of marketing, said the company is looking to accomplish two goals: to reintroduce itself as an online service for sharing, printing and storing photographs and to re-brand itself after changing its name from Seattle FilmWorks.


"We will still be pushing our film developing services, but we also want people to think of us when they are looking for an online photo service system," Tashjian said. "The time is also perfect for a campaign like this because we feel that consumer participation in the online photo services market is poised for explosion. There are a lot of companies doing a lot of land-grabbing, and we want to be out there getting our name in front of consumers."


PhotoWorks worked with Bozell Worldwide, Seattle, to develop the campaign, which will continue through the end of the summer. The company will contact the 1.5 million people in its database who use it for primarily film developing via mail order. But because it considers most of the people using online photo services a new audience, most of the campaign targets prospects.


Earlier this spring, the company started dropping direct mail pieces to people in its database to inform them of the benefits of online photo services. It got the major portion of its direct mail campaign under way this month, when it began going after prospects with four different pieces, pushing three separate messages. These mailings represent most of the 10 million pieces going out.


The pieces are designed to get people to register and become members of the PhotoWorks.com Club either through the mail or at its Web site while taking advantage of a free film-developing offer. They are asked to mail the film back to PhotoWorks and provide their e-mail addresses and other information. Club members will get free online previews of their prints and will be notified when their prints are done by e-mail.


All but one of the pieces contain a free roll of film with a business reply envelope to have it developed. One tells people they should "Get digital" and discusses the benefits of getting reprints done online. Two of the pieces highlight the free membership benefits. One of these pieces contains two free rolls of film while the other doesn't contain any. The last piece instructs the recipient to "Go wild and crazy" and to take pictures of whatever they want because their film will be developed for free.


PhotoWorks will evaluate which piece produces the best results and will design future campaigns based on that information. Tashjian said there were some early results but would not divulge them.


An opt-in-only e-mail campaign also is being used to target 1,000 people. The message, which is being sent until the end of August, is similar to the direct mail packages being tested. It describes the services, provides information on the free offer and starter kit and includes a link back to the site. At the site, consumers are asked to give their names and e-mail addresses. Once they are in its database, PhotoWorks will contact them regularly to get more information to conduct "more effective marketing campaigns that we have in the works," Tashjian said.


This week, two TV commercials began airing to highlight PhotoWorks' service. The spots -- which will run until the end of the summer on ABC, NBC, The Learning Channel, CNN and other network and cable channels -- inform people to take advantage of the special free developing offer by going to the Web site.


Starting next week, four advertising spreads will run in weekly magazines including People, Time and Newsweek. Later this month, ads will appear in a number of monthly publications in the categories of lifestyle and shelter, family and parenting and computers and technology. The print ads also will drive people to the Web site in an effort to get them to register.


Online, PhotoWorks has a marketing agreement with AT&T WorldNet in which offers for the free starter kit will appear on the AT&T site and will include a link back to the PhotoWorks site. Tashjian said the company will post banner ads on a number of family-oriented sites but was uncertain about which ones.
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