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Nikon Corporation

Nikon Corporation

Fuji Building
2-3, Marunouchi 3-chome
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8331
Japan
Telephone: (81) 3 3214-5311
Fax: (81) 3 3201-5856
Web site: http://www.nikon.co.jp

Public Company
Incorporated:
1917 as Nippon Kogaku K.K.
Employees: 13,894
Sales: ¥483.9 billion ($3.8 billion) (2001)
Stock Exchanges: Tokyo Osaka
Ticker Symbol: 7731
NAIC: 333315 Photographic and Photocopying Equipment Manufacturing; 334413 Semiconductor and Related Device Manufacturing

While Nikon Corporation is well known in the consumer world for its cameras, the Japanese firm also produces film scanners, telescopes and binoculars, eyeglasses and ophthalmic equipment, microscopes, surveying equipment, precision equipment, and optical equipment. Nikon has also made a name for itself in the semiconductor industry by manufacturing integrated circuit exposure systems, or steppers, that etch circuitry onto wafers. This business segment secures nearly half of company sales, while the imaging products business provides approximately 36 percent of total sales. Operating as a member of the Mitsubishi keiretsu, or business group, Nikon spent 1999 and the early years of 2000 restructuring by adopting an in-house company system as well as an executive officer platform, spinning off various operations, and consolidating its holding companies in both the United States and Europe.

Origins

In 1917, three of Japans foremost makers of optical equipment merged in order to offer a full line of optical products. The German optical-glass industry was by far the most advanced at the time. The company was called Nippon Kogaku (Japan Optics) and began producing optical glass in 1918. The new company had negotiated for technical assistance with the German engineering firm Carl Zeiss, but the negotiations fell through. Nevertheless, by 1919 Nippon Kogaku numbered among its employees eight leading, independent German engineers.

World War I had little effect on the new company, and postwar government policies that promoted the importation of foreign technology to develop domestic industry served to assist Nippon Kogaku. In the 1920s, the company used German technical advice to develop a line of ultra-small prism binoculars and the precise JOICO microscope. By 1932, Nippon Kogaku had designed its own camera lenses, the Nikkor brand. Nippon Kogaku was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1939.

Nippon Kogaku expanded during the 1920s and 1930s. Military leaders saw expansion as the best way to attack the domestic problems of overpopulation and shortages of raw materials. The country looked to Southeast Asia as its natural extension, and in September 1940 Japan joined Germany and Italy in the Tripartite Pact to secure its interests in this area. As the threat of a major war increased, Japanese government planners chose to concentrate on improving precision optics for navigation and bombing equipment rather than radar and sonar technology, which was used by the U.S. armed forces. The decision meant new business for Nippon Kogaku and its competitor Minolta, both of which were primarily optical-equipment producers at the time. It also increased German technical aid to Japanese firms that were involved in the war effort, and Nippon Kogaku gained expertise through this arrangement.

The company continued to prosper in the postwar years, shifting from optics with military applications to optics with consumer applications. The company produced microscopes, binoculars, eyeglasses, and surveying instruments, which were especially in demand as Japan rebuilt its shattered infrastructure.

Nippon Kogaku Introduces Its First Camera: 1946

After World War II, Nippon Kogaku entered the area for which it would become best known, introducing its first camera in 1946 under the Nikon brand name. Other Japanese firms already had begun selling cameras. Minolta had produced cameras since it was founded in 1928, and Canon produced Japans first 35-millimeter camera in 1934. However, the standard remained the German Leica 35-millimeter camera, accepted by professional photographers as the top of the line since its introduction in 1925.

The war temporarily took German cameras out of the market place. Although Nippon Kogaku had the advantage of German lens technology and the support of U.S. occupation forces that wanted to rebuild Japanese industry as soon as possible, the company did not immediately take advantage of the lack of competition in international markets. Company management insisted on producing cameras for the Japanese market.

It was not long before Japanese cameras became better known internationally. U.S. occupation forces found Japanese 35-millimeter cameras in post exchanges and took them back to the United States. The simple sand-cast bodies, uncomplicated iris shutters, and high-quality lenses soon earned Japanese cameras an excellent reputation, despite the poor reputation other Japanese-made goods suffered.

Nippon Kogakus Nikon-brand cameras earned special attention for their high quality. Demand increased further when U.S. combat photographers covering the Korean War favored Nikon lenses, and photojournalists began asking Nippon Kogaku to make special lenses to fit their Leica cameras. The companys reputation spread by word of mouth among professional photographers. By the mid-1960s photographers for Life, National Geographic, and Stern Germanys largest-selling picture magazineused Nikon 35-millimeter cameras. Nikon had been accepted as the professional standard, and advanced amateurs followed the example, helping Nikon cameras to make inroads into that market as well.

One reason for Nippon Kogakus success was its development of a completely new type of camera, the single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. The SLR lets a photographer see exactly what the camera will record, using an angled mirror to reflect images from the camera lens to a viewing screen. The rangefinder camera produced by Leitz, maker of the Leica, used two lenses, one for the film and a separate one for the viewer. That method worked until interchangeable lenses were developed in the 1950s. If a photographer used a wide-angle or telephoto lens, the Leicas viewer lens still showed a standard image. There could be a considerable difference between what the eye saw and what the cameras film recorded.

Nippon Kogaku brought the Nikon F SLR to market in 1959 and improved it when other Japanese companies offered competing models. Leitz did not introduce its SLR until 1964. Leitzs SLR was judged by the professional community to be an amateur model, not advanced enough for professional use. By then, the Nikon camera had become the high-end 35-millimeter standard. Even so, it was cheaper than the competing Leicaflex; in 1965, the Nikon F with a coupled light meter and standard f2 lens sold for $413, while a similarly equipped Leicaflex sold for $549.

Another reason for Nippon Kogakus success in the international market was its ties to the Mitsubishi keiretsu, its transfer agent. After World War II, the United States had broken up the zaibatsu powerful Japanese business conglomerates, such as Mitsubishibut the trading companies, banks, and industrial concerns that had composed the zaibatsu continued to cooperate. For Nippon Kogaku, its ties to Mitsubishi meant ready credit and exporting advantages. Nippon Kogaku also promoted its photographic equipment through what it called photography culture, sponsoring photo contests and photo exhibits as well as establishing clubs that gave advice to amateur photographers.

Nikon cameras were best-sellers, and Nippon Kogaku was profitable by the mid-1960s. When other major Japanese camera companies, such as Canon and Minolta, entered the office-equipment field by introducing copiers, calculators, and related equipment, Nippon Kogaku continued to emphasize cameras. The company introduced new SLR cameras and an eight-millimeter movie camera during the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a new all-weather camera. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration chose Nikon SLR cameras for use in the space shuttle program.

Diversification: 1980s

Changing economic conditions in the 1980s forced Nippon Kogaku to reevaluate its reliance on cameras. By 1982, 80 percent of Japanese households owned at least one 35-millimeter camera with all the attachments. Markets in Europe and the United States also were saturated. At the same time, new production techniquessuch as use of computers to design lensesand new materialssuch as lightweight, tough plastics for camera bodiestook some of the skill and much of the profit out of making cameras. Since Nippon Kogaku, unlike other Japanese camera makers, was not heavily involved in office equipment or the new video technology, two-thirds of its revenues still came from the mature camera market in 1982.

Company Perspectives:

We are striving to create businesses for the new century that capitalize on our core competencies. We are actively working to expand business by evolving the nanotechnology we have amassed in our experience with steppers and, at the same time, entering into alliances that exceed the framework of our business, establishing new businesses for the twenty-first century centered primarily on the fields of semiconductors, life sciences, and optical communications.

At the same time, other Japanese companies mounted a new threat to the 35-millimeter camera market. In 1976, Canon introduced a new camera, the impact of which rivaled the introduction of the SLR camera in the 1950s. Canons AE-I used a semiconductor chip to change automatically some of the settings the photographer would change on traditional 35-millimeter SLRs. Casual photographers often were intimidated by the need to set shutter speed, lens aperture, and focus; thus, when Canon pushed the AE-ls ease of use in an advertising campaign, its sales took off. Encouraged by that success, Canon next brought non-SLR 35-millimeter cameras back into the picture with its simple Snappy. That camera was a threat to the snapshooter market firmly held by U.S. camera makers Kodak and Polaroid, not Nippon Kogakus high end of the market. Nippon Kogaku introduced the FG 35-millimeter SLR, a programmed, automatic model, in mid-1982 and promoted it with a major ad campaign aimed at men who tended to buy SLRs. Nevertheless, Canon was slipping ahead of Nippon Kogaku in overall camera sales. Nippon Kogaku still held its reputation for building better cameras, but its conservative business approach was causing it to lose ground, just as Leitzs had caused it to lose out to Nippon Kogaku 30 years earlier. To survive, Nippon Kogaku not only had to continue camera development but also to diversify.

In the camera field, the company moved into the simpler end of the market with its successful One-Touch camera in 1983. The next year the Nikon FA received the Camera Grand Prix, a Japanese award. The company followed the One-Touch with the Nikon F-501, a new autofocus SLR camera, which received the 1986 European Camera of the Year Award. In 1989, another new autofocus SLR, the Nikon F-801, received both the Camera Grand Prix in Japan and the European Camera of the Year Award. By the beginning of the 1990s, Nikon Corporationthe name Nippon Kogaku had adopted officially in 1988could claim to have a complete lineup of cameras ranging from professional top-of-the-line models to compact autofocus models for less serious photographers.

Nippon Kogaku had also diversified into areas in which it already had a foothold, including ophthalmic technology. It also produced sunglasses, plastic eyeglass lenses, and eyeglass frames. In 1979, the company marketed its automatic eye refractive index measuring machine. The following year, Nippon Kogaku moved in a new direction, developing a dental root implant using bioactive glass, which bonds with living bone tissue.

In 1972, Nippon Kogaku entered an important new area, marketing its laser interferometric X-Y measuring system, a measuring instrument for integrated circuits. In the 1980s, the company put more effort into developing semiconductor-production machinery, and Nikon became a world leader in that area. Nippon Kogaku continued to develop microscopes, telescopes, and binoculars as well as more advanced equipment for surveying and measuring instruments. It also made its first forays into new types of electronic imaging equipment: a color film scanner, used for computer input of photos and a color printer for computer graphic production. The Still Video Camera System needed no film at allit recorded images electronically on floppy discs, allowing images to be reproduced immediately or transmitted over telephone lines. Nikon lenses were also being used in new high-definition television.

Nippon Kogakus 1988 name change to Nikon recognized that optical equipment was no longer the companys focus in the electronics-oriented environment. The company historically known for its advanced optical glass parlayed its reputation as a leading camera maker into success in other fields.

Diversification into various fields, especially the semiconductor market, continued during the 1990s. By the end of the decade, this business segment was securing nearly half of the companys sales. During this time period Nikon also expanded internationally by establishing new subsidiaries in Hungary, Italy, the Czech Republic, Singapore, Taiwan, Sweden, the United States, China, and the United Kingdom.

Some of the companys new product launches during the 1990s included the industrys first underwater autofocus SLR camera, which was introduced in 1992. The following year, the firm developed the worlds first electrochromic sunglasses with changing color lenses. Nikon also created a new series of digital cameras, including the Coolpix line, which became available in 1997.

Weakening Market Conditions: Late 1990s and Beyond

During 1998, the companys dependence on the semiconductor industry did not play in its favor. The semiconductor market as a whole weakened due in part to over saturation and falling prices. Nikon posted a net loss of ¥18.2 billion and revenues dropped by 18 percent over the previous year. The sale of steppers picked up in 1999, however, and the firm was able to secure a net profit of¥7.8 billion ($72.8 million).

During 1999 and into the new century, Nikon restructured itself and adopted an in-house company system to align its group companies and make each one accountable for a certain level of sales and profits. The firm also adopted an executive officer management system, spun off various assets, reorganized its U.S. sales subsidiaries, and created holding company Nikon Holdings Europe B.V. in an effort to consolidate its European businesses. In March 2000, Nikon also launched Vision Nikon 21, a series of strategic business goals that would extend into the first decade of 2000.

As Nikon streamlined its operations, it was faced with weakening global economies, fierce competition in the manufacturing industry, as well as continued sluggishness in the semiconductor market. Under the leadership of company president Teruo Shimamura, Nikon focused on original product creation along with technological advancements. As part of its new strategy, it entered the chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) or wafer polishing segment of the semiconductor market by partnering with Okamoto Machine Tool Works Ltd. to create a CMP tool, the NPS2301. Nikon also began focusing on increasing its consumer base. As such, it began offering certain cameras to mass merchandisers for the first time. In 2002, the company also launched a television advertising campaignthe first in eight yearsfor its Coolpix 2500 digital camera.

Nikons long-term goals included creating a business structure that could weather the changes in the semiconductor industry while increasing profits. Management believed that semiconductors would continue to play a significant role in the development of information technology, which in turn would create demand for its steppers. The company also looked to expand its digital camera product line, its measuring and inspection equipment for semiconductors, and its microscope technologies. Even as market conditions remained challenging, Nikon management felt confident that the company would prosper well into the future. With a long-standing history of success and a highly reputable brand name, Nikon appeared to be on track to meet its long term goals.

Principal Subsidiaries

Mito Nikon Corporation; Zao Nikon Co., Ltd.; Nikon Tec Corporation; Sendai Nikon Corporation; Nikon Photo Products Inc.; Kurobane Nikon Co., Ltd.; Nikon Instech Co., Ltd.; Kogaku Co., Ltd.; Nikon Digital Technologies, Co., Ltd.; Tochigi Nikon Corporation; Sagami Optical Co., Ltd.; Setagaya Industry Co., Ltd.; Nikon Engineering Co., Ltd.; Nikon Geotecs Co., Ltd.; Nikon Eyewear Co., Ltd.; Nikon Optical Shop Co., Ltd.; Nikon Vision Co., Ltd.; Nikon Technologies, Inc.; Nikon Systems Inc.; Nikon Sales-Promotion Co., Ltd.; Nikon Logistics Corporation; Nikon Tsubasa Inc.; Nikon-Essilor Co., Ltd.; Nasu Nikon Co., Ltd.; Aichi Nikon Co., Ltd.; Nikon Americas Inc. (U.S.); Nikon Precision Inc. (U.S.); Nikon Research Corporation of America; Nikon Inc. (U.S.); Nikon Instruments Inc. (U.S.); Nikon Canada Inc.; Nikon Holdings Europe B.V. (Netherlands); Nikon Precision Taiwan Ltd.; Nikon Precision Singapore Pte Ltd.; Nikon (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.; Nikon Hong Kong Ltd.; Nikon (Thailand) Co., Ltd.; Nanjing Nikon Jiangnan Optical Instrument Co., Ltd. (China); Beijing Nikon Ophthalmic Products Co., Ltd. (China).

Principal Competitors

ASML Holding N.V.; Canon Inc.; Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd.

Key Dates:

1917:
Three of Japans optical equipment manufacturers merge to form Nippon Kogaku.
1932:
By now the firm has launched camera lenses under the brand name Nikkor.
1939:
Nippon Kogaku lists on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
1946:
The company introduces its first Nikon brand camera.
1959:
The Nikon F SLR camera is launched.
1972:
The firm enters the semiconductor industry with a measuring instrument for integrated circuits.
1988:
The company officially adopts the name Nikon Corporation.
1992:
Nikon launches the worlds first underwater SLR camera.
1998:
As the semiconductor market falters, the firm reports a loss of¥18.2 billion.
2000:
Nikon management launches the Vision Nikon 21 strategy.

Further Reading

Beardi, Cara, Nikon Extends Brand to Mass Market, Advertising Age, April 3, 2000, p. 26.

Chappell, Jeff, Polishing an Emerging Technology, Electronic News, August 13, 2001, p. 24.

Focusing on the Future: 1989, Tokyo: Nikon Corporation, 1989.

Japans Nikon Group Net Profit Rebounds to US$72.8 Mln, AsiaPulse News, May 23, 2000.

Japans Nikon Posts 18 Bin Yen Net Loss For FY98, AsiaPulse News, June 1, 1999.

New Heads Tell Workers to Think Differently, Speak Out, Daily Yomiuri, July 19, 2001.

Nikon, Advanced Imaging, August 2001, p. 69.

Nikon to Set Up Second Thai Plant, Bangkok Post, May 14, 2001.

Nikon Sharpens Its Focus on Local Mart Share, New Straits Times, January 18, 2002.

Nikon Slashes Its Earnings Forecast on Tech Slump, Wall Street Journal, September 4, 2001, p. 16.

Wasserman, Todd, Nikon Focuses on Mass Market with TV, Brand-week, April 22, 2002, p. 4.

Ginger G. Rodriguez
update: Christina M. Stansell

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Nikon Corporation

Nikon Corporation

Fuji Building
2-3, Marunouchi 3-chome
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100
Japan
(03) 3214-5311
Fax: (03) 3201-5856

Public Company
Incorporated: 1917 as Nippon Kogaku K.K.
Employees: 6,770
Sales: ¥284.41 billion (US$1.98 billion)
Stock Exchanges: Tokyo Osaka Kyoto Hiroshima Fukuoka Niigata Sapporo

Nikon Corporation is the grandaddy of Japans Big Five photographic firms. Its cameras have been the standard for professional photographers and advanced amateurs since the 1950s. When those markets became saturated in the 1980s, the company expanded its product line to remain competitive. A member of the Mitsubishi keiretsu, or business group, Nikon manufactures photography equipment and electronic imaging equipment, semiconductor-manufacturing equipment, surveying and measuring instruments, microscopes, binoculars, telescopes, and ophthalmic and medical products.

In 1917 three of Japans foremost makers of optical equipment merged, in order to offer a full line of optical products. The German optical-glass industry was by far the most advanced at the time. The company was called Nippon Kogaku (Japan Optics) and began producing optical glass in 1918. The new company had negotiated for technical assistance with the German engineering firm Carl Zeiss, but the negotiations fell through. Nippon Kogaku then, in 1919, employed eight leading, independent German engineers.

World War I had little effect on the new company, but postwar government policies that promoted the importation of foreign technology to develop domestic industry helped Nippon Kogaku. In the 1920s the company used German technical advice to develop a line of ultra-small prism binoculars and the precise JOICO microscope. By 1932 Nippon Kogaku designed its own camera lenses, the Nikkon brand. Nippon Kogaku was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1939.

Nippon Kogaku expanded during the 1920s and 1930s. Military leaders saw expansion as the best way to attack the domestic problems of overpopulation and shortages of raw materials. The country looked to Southeast Asia as its natural extension, and in September 1940 Japan joined Germany and Italy in the Tripartite Pact to secure its interests in this area. As the threat of a major war increased, Japanese government planners chose to concentrate on improving precision optics for navigation and bombing equipment rather than radar and sonar, chosen by the U.S. government. The decision meant new business for Nippon Kogaku and its competitor Minolta, both of which were primarily optical-equipment producers at the time. It also increased German technical aid to Japanese firms that were involved in the war effort, and Nikon gained expertise through Japans German ally.

After World War II, Nippon Kogaku continued to prosper, shifting from optics with military applications to optics with consumer applications. The company produced microscopes, binoculars, eyeglasses, and surveying instruments for which there was great demand as Japan rebuilt its shattered infrastructure.

The company also entered the area for which it would become best known, introducing its first camera in 1946. Other Japanese firms already had begun selling cameras. Minolta had produced cameras since it was founded in 1928; and Canon produced Japans first 35-millimeter camera in 1934. However, the standard remained the German Leica 35-millimeter camera, accepted by professional photographers as the top of the line since its introduction in 1925.

The war temporarily took German cameras out of the market place. Although Nippon Kogaku had the advantage of German lens technology and the support of U.S. occupation forces that wanted to rebuild Japanese industry as soon as possible, the company did not immediately take advantage of the lack of competition in international markets. Company management insisted on producing cameras for the Japanese market.

It was not long before Japanese cameras became better-known internationally. U.S. occupation forces found Japanese 35-millimeter cameras in post exchanges and took them back to the United States. The simple sand-cast bodies, uncomplicated iris shutters, and high-quality lenses soon earned Japanese cameras an excellent reputation, despite the poor reputation other Japanese-made goods suffered.

Nippon Kogakus Nikon-brand cameras earned special attention for their high quality. Demand increased further when U.S. combat photographers covering the Korean War favored Nikon lenses, and photojournalists began asking Nippon Kogaku to make special lenses to fit their Leicas. The companys reputation spread by word of mouth among professional photographers. By the mid-1960s photographers for Life, National Geographic, and Stern Germanys largest-selling picture magazineused Nikon 35-millimeter cameras. The Nikon had been accepted as the professional standard, and advanced amateurs followed the example, helping Nikon cameras to make inroads into that market as well.

One reason for Nippon Kogakus success was its development of a completely new type of camera, the single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. The SLR lets a photographer see exactly what the camera will record, using an angled mirror to reflect images from the camera lens to a viewing screen. The rangefinder camera produced by Leitz, maker of the Leica, used two lenses, one for the film and a separate one for the viewer. That method worked until interchangeable lenses were developed in the 1950s. If a photographer used a wideangle or telephoto lens, the Leicas viewer lens still showed a standard image. There could be a considerable difference between what the eye saw and what the film recorded.

Nippon Kogaku brought the Nikon F SLR to market in 1959 and improved it when other Japanese companies offered competing models. Leitz did not introduce its SLR until 1964. Leitzs SLR was judged by the professional community to be an amateur model, not advanced enough for professional use. By then, the Nikon camera had become the high-end 35-millimeter standard. Even so, it was cheaper than the competing Leicaflex; in 1965, the Nikon F with a coupled light meter and standard f2 lens sold for $413, while a similarly equipped Leicaflex sold for $549.

Another reason for Nippon Kogakus success in the international market was its ties to the Mitsubishi keiretsu, its transfer agent. After World War II, the United States had broken up the zaibatsu, powerful Japanese business conglomerates, such as Mitsubishi; but the trading companies, banks, and industrial concerns that had composed the zaibatsu continued to cooperate. For Nippon Kogaku, its ties to Mitsubishi meant ready credit and exporting advantages.

Nippon Koguku also marketed its photographic equipment by promoting what it called photography culture, sponsoring photo contests and photo exhibits and establishing clubs that gave amateurs photographic advice.

Nikon cameras were best-sellers, and Nippon Kogaku was profitable by the mid-1960s. When other major Japanese camera companies, such as Canon and Minolta, entered the office-equipment field by introducing copiers, calculators, and related equipment, Nippon Kogaku continued to emphasize cameras. The company introduced new SLR cameras and an eight-millimeter movie camera during the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a new all-weather camera. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration chose Nikon SLR cameras for use in the space shuttle program.

Changing economic conditions in the 1980s forced Nippon Kogaku to reevaluate its reliance on cameras. By 1982, 80% of Japanese households owned at least one 35-millimeter camera with all the attachments. Markets in Europe and the United States also were saturated. At the same time, new production techniquessuch as use of computers to design lensesand new materialssuch as lightweight, tough plastics for camera bodiestook some of the skill and much of the profit out of making cameras. Since Nippon Kogaku, unlike other Japanese camera makers, was not heavily involved in office equipment or the new video technology, two-thirds of its revenues still came from the mature camera market in 1982.

At the same time, other Japanese companies mounted a new threat to the 35-millimeter camera market. In 1976 Canon introduced a new camera, the impact of which rivaled the introduction of the SLR camera in the 1950s. Canons AE-1 used a semiconductor chip to change automatically some of the settings the photographer would change on traditional 35-millimeter SLRs. Casual photographers often were intimidated by the need to set shutter speed, lens aperture, and focus, so when Canon pushed the AE-ls ease of use in an advertising campaign its sales took off. Encouraged by that success, Canon next brought non-SLR 35-millimeter cameras back into the picture with its simple Snappy. That camera was a threat to the snapshooter market firmly held by U.S. camera makers Kodak and Polaroid, not Nippon Kogakus high end of the market. Nippon Kogaku introduced the FG 35-millimeter SLR, a programmed, automatic model, in mid-1982 and promoted it with a major ad campaign aimed at men who tended to buy SLRs. Nevertheless, Canon was slipping ahead of Nippon Kogaku in overall camera sales. Nippon Kogaku still held its reputation for building better cameras, but its conservative business approach was causing it to lose ground, just as Leitzs had caused it to lose out to Nippon Kogaku 30 years earlier. To survive, Nippon Kogaku not only had to continue camera development but also to diversify.

In the camera field, the company moved into the simpler end of the market with its successful One-Touch camera in 1983. The next year the Nikon FA received the Camera Grand Prix, a Japanese award. The company followed the One-Touch with the Nikon F-501, a new autofocus SLR camera, which received the 1986 European Camera of the Year Award. In 1989 another new autofocus SLR, the Nikon F-801, received both the Camera Grand Prix in Japan and the European Camera of the Year Award. By the beginning of the 1990s, Nikon Corporationthe name Nippon Kogaku had adopted officially in 1988could claim to have a complete lineup of cameras ranging from the professional top-of-the-line models to compact autofocus models for less serious photographers.

Nippon Kogaku had also diversified into areas in which it already had a foothold, including ophthalmic technology. It produced sunglasses, plastic eyeglass lenses, and eyeglass frames, and in 1979, marketed its automatic eye refractive index measuring machine. In 1980, the company moved in a new direction, developing a dental root implant using bioactive glass, which bonds with living bone tissue.

In 1972, Nippon Kogaku entered an important new area, marketing its laser interferometric X-Y measuring system, a measuring instrument for integrated circuits. In the 1980s, the company put more effort into developing semiconductor-production machinery, and Nikon has become a world leader in that area. Nippon Kogaku continued to develop microscopes, telescopes, and binoculars as well as more advanced equipment for surveying and measuring instruments.

It also made its first forays into new types of electronic imaging equipment: a color film scanner, used for computer input of photos and a color printer for computer graphic production. The Still Video Camera System needs no film at allit records images electronically on floppy discs, allowing images to be reproduced immediately or transmitted over telephone lines. Nikon lenses are being used in new high-definition television.

Nippon Kogakus 1988 name change to Nikon recognized that optical equipment was no longer the companys focus in the electronics-oriented environment. The company known for its advanced optical glass has parlayed its reputation as a leading camera maker into success in other fields. While its conservatism has sometimes meant that Nikon Corporation has been slow in responding to new competitors, it has also meant maintaining a reputation for high quality.

Principal Subsidiaries

Tochigi Nikon K.K.; Mito Nikon K.K.; Sendai Nikon K.K.; Nikon Photo Products Inc.; Nikon Tec Corporation; Nikon Inc. (U.S.A.); Nikon Precision Inc. (U.S.A.); Nikon Europe B.V. (Netherlands); Nikon AG (Switzerland); Nikon GmbH (Germany); Nikon Precision Europe GmbH (Germany); Nikon U.K. Limited; Nikon France S.A.

Further Reading

Focusing on the Future: 1989, Tokyo, Nikon Corporation, [1989].

Ginger G. Rodriguez

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"Nikon Corporation." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nikon Corporation." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 19, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/nikon-corporation-0

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Nikon Corporation

Nikon Corporation

MASS MARKET INITIATIVE CAMPAIGN
THE NIKON SCHOOL CAMPAIGN

1300 Walt Whitman Road
Melville, New York 11747
USA
Telephone: (631) 547-4200
Fax: (631) 547-0299
Web site: www.nikonusa.com

MASS MARKET INITIATIVE CAMPAIGN

OVERVIEW

Nikon Corporation, well known for its high-end cameras embraced by professional photographers and advanced amateurs, faced an increasingly challenging marketplace in the final years of the twentieth century. The market for film cameras was saturated, and the emerging digital-camera market was crowded with competition. In addition to such old-line rivals as Canon, Minolta, and Olympus, Nikon had to contend with well-heeled newcomers, including Hewlett-Packard and Sony. Starting in 2000 Nikon and its ad agency, Minneapolis-based Fallon Worldwide, made a concerted effort to extend the Nikon brand to the mass market.

Nikon introduced a number of new products geared toward the general consumer, and the company scored a hit in 2001 with the Coolpix 775, a best-selling camera during that year's holiday season. The campaign reached a peak in 2002 with the airing of the first Nikon television spot in eight years. The spot, titled "The Search," supported the launch of the Coolpix 2500, the first camera to feature a swivel lens. Although there was no announced budget for the campaign, Nikon had steadily ratcheted up its advertising budget, which grew from $11.7 million in 2000 to $18.2 million in 2001 and to almost $20 million in 2002.

While Fallon made some progress in positioning Nikon in the mass market, the two parties experienced creative differences. In October 2002 Nikon severed its business with Fallon, and the mass-market campaign came to an end.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Founded as an optical glass company in 1917, Nikon did not make its first camera until 1946, following the lead of two other Japanese companies, Canon and Minolta. Japan at the time was occupied by U.S. forces, who bought the Japanese cameras in post exchanges and brought them home. The Nikon cameras were especially well regarded because of their high quality. During the Korean War, U.S. combat photographers asked Nikon to produce lenses that would fit their German Leica cameras, and soon professional photographers of all types were singing the praises of Nikon lenses and cameras. By the mid-1960s photographers for such major magazines as Life and National Geographic relied on Nikon cameras, which had become accepted as professional-grade while also attracting the interest of advanced amateurs. While Canon and Minolta branched off into making office equipment such as copiers and printers, Nikon remained focused on high-end cameras. In 1983 it gained a foothold in the low end of the market with the introduction of its successful One-Touch camera. But by then the camera business was mature and offered few opportunities for sustained growth.

In the 1980s Nikon placed more emphasis on other optical equipment—such as binoculars, eyeglass lenses, and sunglasses—and diversified into consumer electronics, developing scanners and printers. During the 1990s the camera industry underwent a major upheaval, as digital-camera technology came into its own and quickly surpassed traditional film cameras. The digital revolution also brought with it a new batch of competitors, including Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, and Samsung, electronics companies with no reputation in the photography field but with the advertising muscle to carve out shares in the digital-photography market. In 1997 Nikon introduced the Coolpix line of consumer-priced digital cameras. The first product, the Coolpix 300, was a disappointment. Despite a sleek design it produced poor pictures. Nikon made steady progress on the Coolpix line, albeit enjoying more success on the high end of the market.

As the 1990s came to a close, Nikon possessed a brand with an excellent reputation among professionals and camera enthusiasts, but it still faced a challenge in extending the brand to the mass market. Ever since Nikon hired Minneapolis-based ad agency Fallon McElligott in 1994, the mandate had been to extend the brand. In 2000 the agency (renamed Fallon Worldwide that year) at last launched an intense effort to establish Nikon in the mass market and to promote the company's new line of less-expensive digital cameras. To become more accessible Nikon also moved beyond its traditional channels of specialty photo stores and catalogs and added mass-market retailers such as Target to its distribution network.

TARGET MARKET

Most digital-camera makers concentrated on the huge family market, targeting women in particular. According to studies roughly three-quarters of all family pictures were taken by women. Wives and mothers were also the stewards of family memories and the maintainers of the photo albums. It was understandable that the likes of Kodak and Fuji Film would focus on this large slice of the market. Nikon opted instead to target a different demographic of the amateur-photography market: younger people—25 to 35 years of age, 45 at the outside—who were more technologically savvy and likely to be impressed by Nikon's innovations. The company further reasoned that these consumers would also be attracted to Nikon's reputation for quality.

COMPETITION

Nikon continued to compete on the high end of the photography market with longtime rivals Minolta, Canon, Olympus, and Kodak. It fought for market share on the lower end with these companies plus a range of newcomers who had arrived on the camera scene as a result of the switch from film to digital technology. These companies included Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony. Because they all possessed other successful product lines in consumer electronics, they had already established the distribution channels needed to sell digital cameras at a mass-merchandising level. Moreover the digital entrants all had the kind of financial backing needed to launch aggressive advertising campaigns and to essentially buy credibility in the market. Their combined marketing heft was also instrumental in the rapid rise of digital technology, which supplanted film cameras at a faster-than-expected pace. Two traditional camera companies, Kodak and Fuji, were especially caught off guard because they had been reluctant to give up the highly profitable sale of film and fully embrace digital photography.

Cameras, which were not especially profitable, were actually of secondary importance to many of Nikon's competitors. Most of the companies instead jockeyed to control the output side of the business: the print market. While the competition was developing home printers and self-service kiosks, Nikon remained focused on cameras, but it was not certain that its cachet with professionals would carry over to the mass market, where price was a key factor. In 2000 about two-thirds of digital cameras sold for $69 or less, placing a heavy burden on Nikon's marketers to convince customers to spend the extra money on a Nikon camera, the least expensive of which, the One-Touch, cost $129.

CREATIVE DIFFERENCES

Nikon's "The Search" was the first U.S. television spot for its South African director, Kim Geldenhuys, who had to cut both 30- and 60-second versions. "I found it very frustrating to have to do a 30-second spot and put so much into it," he told Adam Remson of Shoot magazine. "It is a new discipline for me because we've always been able to do sixty-second spots [in South Africa]. And if not a sixty, we could do a fifty or a fifty-five or a forty-five. We have got these really strange lengths that we can make commercials over here."

MARKETING STRATEGY

In 2000 Nikon introduced a number of new 35-millimeter digital cameras geared toward the mass market, including the One-Touch Zoom 90QD and the Light-Touch Zoom 120ED/QD. In May of that year Nikon ran the first ads for these products in consumer magazines, making the point that Nikon cameras were not just for professionals. But Nikon also did not neglect the high-end digital market, introducing the $1,000 Coolpix 990, which was promoted in photo and computer magazines with ads aimed at the "discriminating digital camera user," according to a Fallon spokesperson.

All told Nikon spent $11.7 million on advertising in 2000, but as the company made a greater push to enter the mass market, its ad budget rose to $18.2 million in 2001. The primary digital camera it promoted was the Coolpix 775, listed at $399, a price at which consumers were willing to stretch to buy a Nikon product and one that afforded a profit in a low-margin field. Todd Wasserman of Brandweek quoted market research analyst Michelle Slaughter as saying the Coolpix "was a very strong product for [Nikon] at a very competitive price point." It was one of the best-selling digital cameras during the 2001 holiday season. The supporting advertising campaign featured actress Kim Cattrall (from Sex and the City) as a spokesperson. Her endorsements consisted of hosting promotional events and appearing with the Coolpix 775 during interviews. Nikon also conducted a guerilla-marketing van tour across the United States to offer consumers a chance to try out the Coolpix 775.

In 2002 Nikon launched another product in the Coolpix line, the Coolpix 2500, priced on store shelves at $379.99. It was in support of this product that Nikon's mass-market push reached its culmination and resulted in the production of Nikon's first television commercial in eight years. The spot, called "The Search," evolved from the experience of Fallon's creative team with the camera. "It's not like picking up a normal camera," Fallon's group creative director Bruce Bildsten told Aaron Baar of Adweek. "It has a quality to it. You just want to pick it up and play with it." The defining feature of the Coolpix 2500 was an inner swivel lens, which allowed the user to take a self-portrait or a picture of the sky, among other things, without tilting the camera. According to Baar, "as Bildsten and his team worked on ways to target young, digitally aware consumers, curious passersby took a fancy to a prototype of the camera…. That idea, coupled with Nikon's target of 25- to 35-year-olds, suggested a party where the camera gets passed around the crowd."

For the commercial "The Search," Fallon chose the award-winning South African director Kim Geldenhuys, who had directed spots for BMW in European markets. Fallon was BMW North America's ad agency, so it was already familiar with the director's work. Because it was much less expensive to work in South Africa, the spot was filmed there. It was done in 18-hour days, during which Geldenhuys attempted to create a nonstop party, hiring a DJ and urging the actors to mingle during their downtime. As a result several improvised moments made their way into the commercial.

In "The Search" a gawky 20-something man at a party took a picture of himself against a sunset, drawing the attention of two attractive women, who asked to look at the camera and then took it inside. The young man chased the camera throughout the crowded party. When he finally caught up to it, it was in the possession of two different women. To determine if the camera really was his, the women scrolled through the camera's memory of pictures, finally coming across an embarrassing one of him. Highly amused by what they saw, they handed over the camera and left him to offer the awkward defense, "It's just a hobby." The spot's concluding line was "The one that swivels." The nature of the embarrassing picture and the man's "hobby" were left to the audience's imagination. "For all we know, it could be him wearing an engineer's hat, just playing with model trains," Bildsten told Baar. "The Search" was aired for the first time in late April 2002 during The Late Show with David Letterman. Afterward it was shown on a variety of network shows and national cable channels. For 2002 Nikon increased its advertising budget to nearly $20 million, most of which supported the company's strategy of gaining a foothold in the mass market.

OUTCOME

While Fallon's mass-market initiative met with some success, especially with the Coolpix 775 in 2001, it was not enough to overcome the creative differences that had developed between the agency and client. Six months after the "The Search" premiered, Nikon and Fallon terminated their relationship, the client stating in a press release that "the time was right to explore new creative options in our advertising activities." For its part Fallon was tight-lipped, merely saying, "We've been proud to represent this highly revered brand, and we wish them every success in the future." According to Adweek's Baar, however, "Nikon's conservative, retail-oriented ad approach clashed with Fallon's desire to craft brand-image ads. The client wanted to use an actor in its ads; the agency didn't." Shortly after the split, in fact, Nokia turned to its retail-marketing agency, Source Communications, and created a spot that featured actor Val Kilmer.

FURTHER READING

Baar, Aaron. "The Inside Pitch: Nikon—Melville, N.Y." Adweek, February 3, 2003, p. 20.

――――――. "Popular Photography." Adweek, April 29, 2002, p. 20.

Beardi, Cara. "Nikon Extends Brand to Mass Market." Advertising Age, April 3, 2000, p. 26.

Kawamoto, Wayne. "Nikon Coolpix 300." Presentations, December 1997, p. 13.

Lauro, Patricia. "Nikon and Fallon End Relationship." New York Times, October 30, 2002, p. C8.

"Nikon Returns to TV with Fallon Spot." Adweek (Midwest ed.), April 15, 2002, p. 9.

Remson, Adam. "Kim Geldenhuys: The American Dream Visits South Africa." Shoot, October 18, 2002, p. 42.

Wasserman, Todd. "Nikon Focuses on Mass Market with TV." Brandweek, April 22, 2002, p. 4.

                                            Ed Dinger

THE NIKON SCHOOL CAMPAIGN

OVERVIEW

Nikon Corporation, one of the leading manufacturers of professional photography equipment, ran an advertising campaign in 1997 to invite photographers of all skill levels to participate in the Nikon School, a seminar that traveled to cities across the United States. The advertisements ran exclusively in print media, including numerous photography magazines. One spot, "Tip #5," featured a close-up photograph of a cat and a small dog looking at each other. Below them, a mouse crouched on a dinner plate and nibbled at a piece of food as if oblivious to the larger animals looming over it. The caption read, "Tip #5: Some photo opportunities only last a second." A block of smaller text continued, "For some reason, we feel compelled to open by mentioning the lunch that comes with our 8-hour class. But more importantly, our expert instructors will teach you everything from basic composition to advanced exposure techniques. You also get the 157-page Nikon School Handbook, all for a mere $95." Nikon's tracking studies revealed that inquiries about the school increased sharply after the ads ran, and in many cases attendance at the seminars was higher than the company had anticipated. The campaign was developed by Fallon McElligott, which had been named advertising agency of the year in 1995 by Advertising Age.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Nikon, a global company based in Japan, was established in 1917 when three optical manufacturers merged. By 1997 the company was making many types of optical equipment, including cameras and other photography products, microscopes, binoculars, electronic imaging equipment, eyeglasses, and surveying instruments. It was one of the few companies that handled all the steps in the manufacturing of optical equipment, from making glass to shaping, polishing, and assembling lenses. Optical technology by Nikon was used in the radiometer with an optical sensor that produced visible, near-infrared light for the Advanced Earth Observing Satellite called Midori, which had been launched in 1996. The company also produced a large objective mirror for astronomical telescopes, and its research into the properties of the spectrum was being applied to fields such as astronomy, biotechnology, and the making of semiconductors. In response to demand for high-quality equipment for professional photographers, the company began manufacturing camera lenses in 1932, selling more than 24 million by 1997. It made 35mm format cameras since the 1940s and was one of five companies that cooperated to develop the Advanced Photo System (APS), an alternative to 35mm cameras and film that was introduced in 1996. Nikon's share of the worldwide photographic products market had varied over a five-year period, with 6.8 percent of the market in 1997, 3.6 percent in 1996, 1.3 percent in 1995, 8.5 percent in 1994, and 4.1 percent in 1993.

Because Nikon photographic equipment was used extensively by professionals, the company's advertising had frequently used technical language to describe the quality and versatility of the products. One ad in a photography magazine in 1993 consisted of an impressive landscape photograph and a picture of a Nikon camera surrounded by fourteen paragraphs of text full of highly technical information such as: "By adding the Nikon SB-24 AF Speedlight, you can automatically balance the flash illumination with ambient background light without calculating fill-flash ratios." The ad featured the tag line Nikon had used for years, "We Take the World's Greatest Pictures." In 1994, at the suggestion of ad agency Fallon McElligott, the tag line was expanded to "We Take the World's Greatest Pictures. Yours." The addition of the one word made the company's products seem more relevant and accessible to the average consumer without alienating the professional photographers who had been Nikon's biggest customers.

The Nikon School was established in 1993 to help amateurs, semi-professionals, and professionals improve their skills in 35mm photography. Its intensive, one-day sessions replaced a similar program that had featured two-day sessions. Each year the courses were offered on weekends in cities across the United States. Using lectures and slide shows, the school's instructors covered topics such as composition, flash photography, and photographing natural phenomena such as rainbows and sunsets. Because students had a broad range of skill levels, the Nikon School had to be interesting enough for advanced students but not too difficult for novices.

TARGET MARKET

Many of Nikon's advertisements in 1997 targeted the general public. In that year the company ran the "Nikon School" campaign and also a series of simple, uncluttered spots for its photographic equipment. Ads from two or more of the company's campaigns frequently appeared in the same issue of magazines such as Popular Photography. One camera advertisement featured a snapshot of a young man swimming beneath the words, "You point it. You shoot it. You frame the sucker." Smaller text added, "When we say the N50 is easy to use, we don't mean 'easy for people who've won Pulitzers for Photography.' We mean seriously simple, as in, hand it to an average dad and say, 'push here.' In Simple Mode, you can literally point the N50, shoot it, and capture frame-worthy, SLR-quality images like this. The camera is positively foolproof. Or more to the point, dad-proof." The ad concluded with the new tag line "We Take the World's Greatest Pictures. Yours."

Although Nikon had broadened its marketing efforts to appeal to the average consumer, the company had not abandoned the professionals who had always been its core customers. One magazine advertisement in 1997 invited photographers to visit Montana with their cameras. Positioned next to spectacular pictures of mountains in Glacier National Park was text explaining why a professional photographer had used Nikon equipment to make the images, how he had composed them, the type of lenses he had chosen, the aperture settings, and the shutter speeds he used. The language was simple enough for an amateur to understand, but it provided details of interest to more advanced photographers.

By explaining the basics of photography along with advanced techniques, the Nikon School appealed to consumers with a broad range of skill levels, but most considered themselves amateurs or advanced amateurs. Some had recently purchased a sophisticated, single-lens-reflex camera, and they wanted to learn how to use it effectively. Some simply wanted a better understanding of photography in general. Others had studied photography in the past but needed a refresher course that would inform them about the latest equipment and techniques. Some had attended previous sessions of the school and knew how valuable the classes could be. "Repeat visitors to the school treat the experience as if it were a pilgrimage. They are seeking inspiration and renewal for their craft. And they know from prior experience that they will get it," said Tom McEnery, management supervisor with Fallon McElligott.

COMPETITION

In 1997 some of Nikon's competitors also ran magazine advertisements that featured photography tips for readers. A two-page spread for Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. (commonly known as Fujifilm) in the March issue of Popular Photography was timed to coincide with the airing of the magazine's cable television program Freeze Frame: Switzerland. A team of still photographers using Fujifilm products had traveled throughout Switzerland with cinematographers from the Travel Channel, taking pictures on assignment for Popular Photography and providing tips for viewers who wanted to improve their travel shots. The magazine advertisement featured a large background photograph of Europe's largest glacier filling a valley between jagged mountains. Smaller photographs of Swiss scenery and the television program's participants were superimposed over the large picture, along with explanatory text. The captions outlined the content of the program, listed the dates and times at which it could be seen on television, provided tips for taking photographs like those in the ad, and told which film and equipment made by Fujifilm had been used to make each image.

PROMOTIONAL VIDEOTAPES

The Nikon School was also publicized through the "Nikon Masters Series," a video collection of some of the world's best photographers working in their fields of expertise. The series featured interviews, documentary footage, and photography on location. Along with an inside perspective on professionals at work, the videos showed how accomplished photographers used Nikon equipment. The series covered photojournalism, wildlife photography, portraits, action shots, and the use of light to make exceptional pictures. Beginning in August 1997 the videotapes were available from Nikon dealers and directly from Nikon Corporation.

Another competitor, Sigma Corporation of America, ran a series of magazine advertisements that showed how professional photographers used the company's products to take spectacular pictures. One ad featured a large photograph that had been shot through the railing of a bridge on the Thames River in England. The caption read, "For this assignment, I went back to this familiar bridge on the Thames and made some fresh discoveries. The Sigma lens I chose is light, compact, and easy to operate." The text went on to explain some of the advantages of that lens, along with the aperture and shutter speed used to make the photograph. Another advertisement was dominated by a photograph of an unusual, rounded structure with a metallic exterior. The caption read, "Amid buildings and sites stamped in history, at the south bank of the Thames, you suddenly come upon futuristic scenes. The Sigma lens I chose to photograph this scene responded accurately to my design."

Another series of advertisements promoted the New York Institute of Photography's correspondence course. A two-page ad in Popular Photography called the institute the "world's oldest and largest photography school" and said, "We guarantee you'll be a better photographer! Send for free booklet to learn how NYI will bring out your hidden talent. For well over 80 years NYI has helped promising amateurs become successful photographers. Now our new 'Century 2000' Method makes learning at home easier and more enjoyable than ever." The ad explained that the course included lessons on videotape and audiotape, an illustrated textbook, and audiotaped critiques of each student's work. It included a coupon that the reader could fill out and mail for more information, along with the company's Internet address.

In contrast, much of the advertising by several of Nikon's other competitors in 1997 promoted the Advanced Photo System (APS), a new type of equipment and film that made photography easier for consumers. These ads typically focused on the products instead of featuring how-to tips. APS had been developed jointly by Nikon, Canon U.S.A., Minolta Corporation, Eastman Kodak Company, and Fujifilm. All five companies made their own brands of APS cameras, but only Kodak and Fujifilm made APS film. Although each company had advertised the launch of the new system in 1996, Kodak had spent by far the most—about $80 million world-wide—to publicize its Advantix brand. According to Advertising Age, the total spent by all advertisers to promote APS products in 1996 was $115 million. In 1997 Kodak's worldwide advertising budget for Advantix was about $100 million, with about $60 million allocated for advertising in the United States. Kodak's new advertisements for 1997 explained what APS was and familiarized the public with the Advantix brand name. Each spot featured Kodak's general corporate signature "Take Pictures. Further." Canon promoted its ELPH brand of APS products with the tag lines "It's So Advanced … It's Simple" and "ELPH: The Big Name in the Advanced Photo System." The tag line for Fujifilm's advertising was "Isn't It About Time Taking Pictures Made Everyone Smile?" Minolta marketed its Vectis brand with the catch phrase "Big Bang Technology." The five companies ran some co-op advertisements, including one that read, "The Nikon Pronea 6i Advanced Photo System camera takes many different lenses. And Kodak Advantix film." In addition to the Pronea brand, Nikon offered the Nuvis brand of APS compact cameras.

MARKETING STRATEGY

By featuring Nikon equipment at the seminars and offering expert instruction in the latest photographic techniques, the Nikon School helped the company convey an image of professionalism without blatantly promoting the brand. Likewise, the advertising campaign took a low-key approach to publicizing the company's products. Although the Nikon name was prominently displayed in the ads, the company's logo and general tag line, "We Take the World's Greatest Pictures. Yours," were not included. Each advertisement caught the reader's eye with a large photograph above two rectangles, one solid gold and one black. The gold block framed a caption, and the black one framed the words "The Nikon School" in reverse type.

In one advertisement a group of firefighters posed in front of a building with flames and smoke billowing out the windows. The caption said, "Tip #34: Remember to compensate for backlighting." The accompanying text added, "Before snapping a photo, it's a good idea to take a gander at what's happening in the background. Just one of the topics covered in our eight-hour class, where you'll learn everything from basic composition to advanced exposure techniques. You also get the 157-page Nikon School Handbook and a lovely lunch, all for $95." Another advertisement showed a tiny dog looking intimidated by the unusually tall fire hydrant towering over it. The caption read, "Tip #44: To get animals to hold still, give them something to focus on." The smaller text said, "We can all feel a tad overwhelmed now and then, and photographers are certainly no exception. Which is exactly why we recommend taking our eight-hour class, where you'll learn everything from basic composition to advanced exposure techniques." A third ad featured a photograph of two tombstones with the names "Knock" and "Knock." The caption said, "Tip #52: Try a slower film for motionless objects."

Because each ad focused on one aspect of photography, the campaign helped show that the school offered instruction in many subjects, such as how to choose the best lens for each picture; how to measure light; how to choose the best film speed, shutter speed, and aperture; how to use flash lighting; how to recognize and compose an effective photograph; and how to master close-up photography. The advertisements addressed problems that photographers of all skill levels commonly encountered, and they promised that students would find answers and access to knowledgeable professionals at the Nikon School. Each ad included a telephone number to call for more information, and some provided the company's Internet address and a list of cities where the school was scheduled to be offered that year. The advertisements ran only in print media, particularly photography magazines.

OUTCOME

One of the "Nikon School" campaign's primary objectives was to boost attendance by reaching out to creative amateur photographers who wanted to improve their craft. According to McEnery of Fallon McElligott, the advertisements succeeded in generating enthusiasm for the school and conveying the key message that the classes could help photographers who wanted to be better than "good enough." Another objective was to encourage consumers to call for more information. McEnery said the campaign clearly achieved those goals. "The 1997 Nikon School season has been one of the most successful ever. Anticipated ticket sales were exceeded on a regular basis. Given our limited schedule of insertions, Nikon was able to track the spike in mail and phone calls following each ad. And we had concrete proof of those conversations; approximately a third of attendees in several sites stated in their exit survey that they learned about the Nikon School through advertising," McEnery noted.

FURTHER READING

Bounds, Wendy. "Don't Blink: Photo Industry Launches Global Blitz to Tout New Cameras, Film." Wall Street Journal, February 1, 1996.

Fannin, Rebecca A. "APS Camera Brands Make Picture-Imperfect Debut: Kodak, Fuji Lead Marketers Who Are Banking on New System." Advertising Age International, January 13, 1997.

Gleason, Mark. "Advertising Age's Agency of the Year: Fallon McElligott." Advertising Age, April 15, 1996.

"The New Nikon School of Photography." Petersen's Photographic, February 1993, p. 29.

"The Nikon School Photo Contest Winners." Petersen's Photographic, June 1996, p. 16.

Wilke, Michael. "Kodak Tries Humorous Tack in $60 Mil Advantix Effort: Ads Strive to Create Human Attachment to New Tech." Advertising Age, June 9, 1997.

                                           Susan Risland

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