Canon Print PROJECT IMAGIN8ION by Grey New York

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Industry Photo & Video Cameras, Accessories
Media Print, Magazine & Newspaper
Market United States
Agency Grey New York
Associate Creative Director Eric King, Stu Mair
Executive Creative Director Ari Halper, Steve Krauss Associate Cd
Art Director Elinor Buchler
Copywriter Kent Koren
Released June 2012


Cannes Lions 2012
PR Lions Technology and Manufacturing Bronze

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Sectors & Services
Category: Technology and Manufacturing
Advertiser: CANON USA
Advertiser CANON USA
Type of Entry: Sectors & Services
Category: Technology and Manufacturing
Advertiser/Client: CANON USA
Entrant Company: GREY NEW YORK, USA
DM/Advertising Agency: GREY NEW YORK, USA
2nd DM/Advertising Agency: ALLIANCE New York, USA

President/Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren (Grey NY)
Executive Creative Director: Ari Halper (Grey NY)
Executive Creative Director: Steve Krauss (Grey NY)
Associate Creative Director: Eric King (Grey NY)
Associate Creative Director: Stu Mair (Grey NY)
Copywriter: Kent Koren (Grey NY)
Art Director: Elinor Buchler (Grey NY)
Account: Rick Cusato (Grey NY)
Account: Melinda Hecht (Grey NY)
Account: Lindsey Christensen (Grey NY)
Agency Music Producer: Zachary Pollakoff (Grey NY)
Agency Producer: Lauren Tuttman (Grey NY)
Digital Producer: Kristen Finch (Grey NY)
Digital Designer: Lando Ettrick (Grey NY)
Digital Designer: Ron Ceballos (Grey NY)
Agency Art Producer: Jen Pugliese (Grey NY)
Project Manager: Kimberly Noyes (Grey NY)
Celebrity Partnership/Contest Public Relations: Amy Tunick (Alliance)
Celebrity Partnership/Contest Public Relations: Courtney Jacobs Engle (Alliance)
Celebrity Partnership/Contest Public Relations: Jennifer Gothelf (Alliance)

Describe the campaign/entry
We were challenged to leverage the endless creative possibilities Canon DSLR cameras offer and maintain Canon’s vital heritage in the still image, while also owning industry-revolutionising DSLR HD-video. Furthermore, after Japan’s tragic tsunami, which threw a ripple in Canon’s supply chain, we needed an idea that formed an emotional bond with consumers, keeping the brand relevant in an engaging and impactful way.

'Project Imagin8ion' was the first photo contest ever to inspire a Hollywood film, featuring a collaboration with Oscar-winning director, Ron Howard. The PR strategy was woven into the overall program, leveraging all phases from commercial shoot to distribution. Through exclusives, press days and events, traditional technology stories merged with lifestyle and entertainment press.

Ron Howard and Canon invited photographers to submit photographs at The contest announcement correlated with The Los Angeles Times feature.

After a user-generated vote, Ron selected 8 photos to inspire his next production. Variety announced Bryce Dallas Howard would direct, a cross-generational mentorship appealing to Canon’s family-focused audiences.

The YouTube platform linked to Facebook and Twitter. Users viewed behind-the-scenes footage from Ron, Bryce and the winners timed with exclusives with Access Hollywood and an on-set junket.

Ron promoted the final film, 'when you find me', shot on Canon’s new Cinema EOS camera, with appearances on The Today Show, On The Record with Greta and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, before the red carpet première at the Museum of Natural History.

Our integrated approach secured 508,850,544 media impressions, driving submissions at a world-record-shattering pace.

Describe the brief from the client
The goal was to launch a long-term campaign, elevating the Canon brand, engaging multiple target segments and getting Canon noticed across the media landscape. Ultimately, this would help Canon regain the #1 position in the DSLR category and foster a conversation.

Canon’s target was qualified as young and active families, upscale hobbyists, trendsetters, techies, professional and amateur photographers. Canon looked to connect on an emotional level, inspiring consumers to bring their imaginations to life using Canon.

Measurement of Success was determined by:
• The NPD Group/Weekly Traffic Service
• Google Analytics
• MediaCom Tracking
• Circulation, Impressions, Critical Ad Value


Business Goals:
- At launch, Canon’s unit share in the DSLR category was 31.6%, and by October it was 50.5%.
- Canon had over 70% of share on Black Friday, making November the best month in their history, during the year’s biggest shopping weekend.
- 19.1 point share change exceeded 5 point goal and re-established Canon’s #1 position
(The NPD Group/Weekly Traffic Service)

Communication Goals:
- Secured 508,850,544 PR impressions
- 'Parade' TV commercial trended on YouTube homepage with 771,973 views
- Ron showcased enthusiasm to 188,257 Twitter followers
- 4,000+ consumers engaged via social media
(Mediacom & Alliance)
-Vastly exceeded projections with 96,362 entries over 22 days, a world-record-shattering pace
- Website garnered 600,000+ visits in the first 40 days, extending to 1.16m+
- Exclusive 2-day window for the online première received 74,025 views
(CMS: 'submissions all' CSV data, Traffic Data/Google Analytics)
- Final film being shot on Canon’s new Cinema EOS camera opened the doors to Hollywood.

Creative Execution

To best announce the campaign in May 2011, we portrayed Canon’s 'Project Imagin8ion' as the ultimate creative endeavour with an exclusive in The Los Angeles Times' 'Calendar'.

Exclusives created pops throughout the program across the media landscape:
• Bryce Dallas Howard (June) – Variety
• Eight Winners (August) –
• Behind the Scenes of Production (September) – Access Hollywood
• Online Premiere (December) –

We optimised Ron Howard’s press days:
• First Phone Interview Block: Ad Age,, New York Post,
• LA Production Day: G4 Attack of the Show, MovieWeb
• NY Press Day (Three Exclusives): Today Show (Morning Show), On the Record with Greta (Business), Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Late Night)
• Red Carpet: E! News, CBS, TVGuide, OK!, People, NewYorker, NY1 etc.

On a local level, we did press around the semi-finalists, finalists and the 8 contest winners: The Oklahoman, Palm Beach Post, KTUL-TV, WENY-TV, WLOS-TV etc.

For 25 years, Canon was the Official Camera of the National Football League, but a changing competitive landscape, new consumer insights, and rising costs of the sponsorship meant change was vital. Then, after Japan’s tragic tsunami, which threw a ripple in Canon’s supply chain, we needed an idea that formed an emotional bond with consumers, keeping the brand relevant in an engaging and impactful way.

Furthermore, in 2011, Nikon caught up in the DSLR category and Canon’s market share slipped to the #2 position. Even smart phones were competing, empowering consumers to share photos and HD video with impressive quality.

We developed a multi-faceted PR strategy, spotlighting iconic film-maker, Ron Howard, and the photographers he inspired via Canon’s 'Long Live Imagination' campaign, kicked off by 'Project Imagin8ion', the first photo contest in history to inspire a Hollywood film.

Carving out announcements for each phase of the campaign, we honed in on a mix of national and local media to tell the story, touching upon numerous consumer passion points.

We leveraged the partnership with Ron Howard to the fullest extent, maximising PR opportunities and securing top-tier media placements across the landscape from national news to lifestyle blogs. A local media strategy also supported the national outreach, highlighting the winners as home town heroes.

Ron Howard, Bryce Dallas Howard, and the 8 winners became true ambassadors for the creative project, exuding passion and pride as they spoke to Project Imagin8ion, always with a call-to-action, be it for photo submissions, voting or screenings.