The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

A Reminder That Expertise Doesn’t Mean Acceptance …


A fantastic camera brand with unquestionable credibility.

Now of course, many camera brands are under threat from the increasing quality – and convenience – of smartphone cameras, which is why many are trying to diversify their portfolio to counter any potential profit loss.

Based on this ad, it appears NIKON are trying to do this as well.

Of course, as we have seen from GOPRO and countless other brands … the ‘live action camera’ category has been growing at an incredible rate and while you could argue NIKON might be a bit late to the party, their credibility in cameras stands them in good stead.

Except it doesn’t.

You see what NIKON have failed to understand is that the ‘live action category’ is very different to the photographic category … sure, they both involve needing a lens to capture the action, but fundamentally the rules are different, the values are different and the culture around it are very different.

As I wrote here, GOPRO’s success is not just because they were one of the first to exploit this market, but because they were part of the culture that created this market.

They understood who these people were.

What they do.

What they want.

What they feel.

This knowledge influenced everything … from their positioning [the utterly brilliant, ‘Be A Hero’] through to the style of advertising they created.

The fact NIKON’s ad shows an image that comes from the perspective of watching others do something, highlights how they have failed to understand the audience they are talking too.

All they’ve done is transfer their photographic approach to their communication … but the audience they need to engage have a totally different set of values and aspirations.

Of course it would be hard for them to achieve this given GOPRO have already nailed it with their ‘in the middle of the action‘ photographic style … but that’s the difference between a brand that looks at a category as a sales opportunity versus a brand that is born from the culture it plans to engage with.

As I’ve said many, many times … culture is far more important than category.

Don’t let anyone tell you different.


PS: Happy Australia Day … a day where you are not just legitimately allowed to get pissed before 10am, but positively encouraged to be. Have a top day. And a top hangover tomorrow.

34 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Great post Rob. In fairness to Nikon they could say the photo in their ad could only be achieved with someone wearing their new live action camera, but I do take your point. But when a competitor does that style of imagery so well, how else can you show your product in an interesting yet authentic way? We saw from one of your earlier posts how badly Kodak tried to do it. All that aside, it’s a great post.

Comment by Pete

maybe it would have helped if the fuckers werent 5 years late to the fucking party.

Comment by andy@cynic

To be fair, that strategy hasn’t harmed Rob’s career.

Comment by DH

I agree, a great post that is valuable for anyone working in marketing. I agree that it would be difficult for Nikon to develop a campaign style that differentiates from GoPro but captures the essence of the product value, but it can be done. Of course, the biggest problem they face is not the lack of campaign distinction, but the lack of product distinction which is only made worse by, as Andrew put it, being so late to the party.

Comment by George

Thanks Pete … Thanks George …

Yes, it would be hard to do a campaign that captures what Gopro have done without being Gopro, but given Nikon don’t seem to care about offering a unique product, why do we think they’d care about offering a unique ad perspective.

As John mentions, given even Gopro aren’t able to turn a profit anymore in this category, Nikon – and Kodak’s – decisions to enter it is even more mind-boggling.

Comment by Rob

GoPro’s problem is they were slow to innovate for the market they created. I was talking to someone who used to work for them and he said that because they were the quickest start-up to a billon dollar valuation, they had got arrogant and complacent. The best lesson for start ups seems to be never let yourself feel comfortable.

Comment by George

So. What’s happening…..really.

Comment by thundermurphy

If GOPRO can’t make money in this market, then Nikon certainly can’t.

Comment by John

and what the fuck does “i am on a mission” even fucking mean? are they saying these guys are navy seals or that twats with parashutesnthink theyre navy seals.

Comment by andy@cynic

Maybe it means Nikon have aimed there camera at senior insurance management who want to pretend they’re doing something of value rather than fucking over the public with their policies designed to never pay out when you need them.

Comment by DH

I am not sure, potentially, if I get your “rant”. Change the subject, it’s a bore.

Comment by thundermurphy

thats fucking amateur trolling. come back when you know what the fuck you are doing.

Comment by andy@cynic

You think you’re saying anything we haven’t said for 10 years?

Comment by DH

why did I subscribe to your blog? I really don’t know , odd, I guess, and I archive before I even read it…..sometimes, not very often, you will “spark” my interest, so much for the Irish imp.

Comment by thundermurphy

Amateur Trolling? You must have a donkey cock and a jack ass. Really…….

Comment by thundermurphy

sorry about calling you an amateur, thats far too fucking complimentary. youre a fucking child who still shits his pants. twat. but youre right about my donkey cock, its fucking massive but not as big as campbells best mate. thats all you get from me you desperate, insignificant turd.

Comment by andy@cynic

You can smell the desperation from the troll can’t you?

Comment by DH

It all sounds like crap on a stick. I quit the “mainstream” jobs.
I have my own property in the woods, the fringe, and my life did not fall apart because I didn’t have the “security” of a job. Working for the man.
I can choose my day. I can find temporary/ piece work in the winter, to HIBERNATE, to WRITE, to paint, sculpt play, guitar, write, sleep, eat incredibly wonderful meals, walk in the forest with my dog on a full voluptuous moon.
Choice is choice. Freedom is …., “doing it scared” .

Comment by thundermurphy

It really doesn’t matter what you “say” to me. I am haahaahaa, just read your response , I am sure of myself , punk at 11, 50 now, never desperate, cunning, sure.

Comment by thundermurphy

“turd” a piece of dung. That’s what the dictionary said. How utterly fantastical. I KNOW I’M A BETTER “turd” . I will be the QUEEN OF ALL THAT IS “turd-like”. Thank-you for all your scatilogical support.

Comment by thundermurphy

Robert. You have a Trump supporter invading your blog. Makes a change from trying to build a wall to separate themselves from what scares them.

Comment by George

I pity your intolerence. I pity your ego.

Comment by thundermurphy

Hello Thundermurphy …

So you are more than welcome on here. You’re more than welcome to disagree with what I say or think … but if you’re just going to throw down insults without any rationale to them, then I am just going to ignore you. I like debate, but I don’t like attempts at bullying or mindless mud slinging, so please contribute to the conversation or just pick on someone who will react. Hope to hear good points of view from you soon.


Comment by Rob

i fucking hate the new mature version of you.

Comment by andy@cynic

Thanks, but thanks. A wanker is a wanker. YOU throw your bitch-ass complaints out there because that’s all you can control. I won’t quit. FIRE me. and I’ll unsubscibe.

Comment by thundermurphy

OK. Consider yourself fired. Bye …

Comment by Rob

nite nite…. all the best. L Murphy

Comment by thundermurphy

An excellent read made all the more exciting with Thundermurphy’s attempts to cause mischief. Unfortunately for them, this blog has attracted contentious comments for so long that everyone is immune from them.

Comment by Lee Hill

Meanwhile, back on the Nikon ad …

Part of the problem is the static nature of print as a medium.
It seems to reinforce the rather traditional, formal, cautious nature of the Nikon brand. (‘Old Japan’).

It just feels like it’s got a giant selfie-stick up its ass.

Comment by Ian Gee

Good point Ian, but Gopro managed to make their print work feel alive. Mainly, as I mention, because they realised their brand was about putting people in the middle of the action, rather than on the outskirts of it.

Comment by Rob

Very true. FPS …

Comment by Ian Gee

Mainly because they used the product themselves. I doubt the Nikon management did.

Comment by John

[…] I’ve also written a bunch about how other brands simply don’t get it … like Kodak and Nikon. […]

Pingback by When You Can Tell A Company Has Lost It … | The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: