Canon Film, Digital PROJECT IMAGIN8ION by Mediacom New York

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Industry Photo & Video Cameras, Accessories
Media Film, Digital, Interactive & Mobile
Market United States
Agency Mediacom New York
Associate Creative Director Eric King, Stu Mair
Executive Creative Director Steve Krauss Associate Cd
Art Director Elinor Buchler
Copywriter Kent Koren
Released June 2011


Cannes Lions 2012
Media Lions Best Use of Branded Content & Sponsorship Gold
Branded content & entertaiment lions Best use or integration of user-generated content Bronze
PR Lions Technology and Manufacturing Bronze

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Use of Media
Category: Best Use of Branded Content & Sponsorship
Advertiser: CANON USA
Agency: MEDIACOM New York, USA
Advertiser CANON USA
Entrant MEDIACOM New York, USA
Type of Entry: Use of Media
Category: Best Use of Branded Content & Sponsorship
Advertiser/Client: CANON USA
Entrant Company: MEDIACOM New York, USA
DM/Advertising Agency: GREY NEW YORK, USA
Media Agency: MEDIACOM New York, USA
President/Chief Creative Officer: Tor Myhren (Grey NY)
Executive Creative Director: Steve Krauss (Grey NY)
Associate Creative Director: Stu Mair (Grey NY)
Associate Creative Director: Eric King (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 PR: Amy Tunick (Alliance)
Celebrity Partnership/Contest PR: Courtney Jacobs Engle (Alliance)
Celebrity Partnership/Contest PR: Jennifer Gothelf (Alliance)


The project garnered photo entries at a world record-shattering pace, over 25,000-a-week, as well as 1.2 MM site visits (972K unique), 2MM YouTube video views, 14K votes, and 80K movie views in 3 days. It reached an $8.4 million earned media value, half a billion earned media impressions and total impressions near 3.5 billion. Post launch, Canon gained a colossal 30-point Unit Share swing over Nikon. By Black Friday, Canon’s market share spiked to 71.7%, making November the best month in Canon’s history.
Lastly, shooting the film on Canon’s Cinema camera secured Canon’s industry-revolutionising DSLR HD-video among the Hollywood A-list.

Creative Execution

Launched with TV, “Project Imagin8ion” was the first photo contest ever to inspire a Hollywood film. The project invited the masses to help shape the next production of two-time Oscar-winning director, Ron Howard. By interpreting 8 core tenets of storytelling, photographers could dictate things like setting, goal and main character. After a user-generated vote decided the finalists, the 8 winning photographs were chosen by Ron, who then had to narratively sew them together in a film that ultimately premièred at the Museum of Natural History in New York.
There were teasers in Time Square, press releases, digital tactics, behind-the-scenes, guerilla strategies, coffee table books, a movie trailer, and invitations to the première. All designed to generate the same kind of media frenzy that typically surrounds anticipated Hollywood releases.
Following the première, the film aired in theatres across the country, including at the Sundance, South by Southwest and Tribeca film festivals.

Instead of trying to sell Canon DSLR cameras by listing all of their high-tech features, we were challenged to leverage the endless creative possibilities these cameras offered our consumers and to position Canon as the ultimate creative enabler. Furthermore, we had to maintain Canon’s vital heritage in the still image, while also owning industry-revolutionizing DSLR HD video. Plus, after the tragic tsunami in Japan, 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 a highly engaging and impactful way.
Our target was photographers at all skill levels, who either shoot with DSLRs already, or point-and-shoot owners ready to cross over; all sharing a common need for self-expression and to unleash their imaginations. This project sought to prove that creativity is limitless and that anything is possible with Canon DSLR cameras, even inspiring a Hollywood film.