Picturesque Americana In Focus

I saw a TV spot last night that led me to Google and then to Nikon’s wonderful “Picturetown” microsite, created to promote their D40 camera.
Nikon, with the help of McCann Erickson/New York, has put together a remarkable campaign. Remarkable because it’s a consumer generated content initiative that looks and feels extremely high-quality. Consumers will no doubt attribute this to the D40’s ease-of use, which from my perspective is more of the magic at work here.
Nikon went to scenic and historic Georgetown, SC (near Myrtle Beach) and gave away 200 $499 cameras to citizens of “Picturetown.” Their photos are displayed in the gallery-like site, where they can also be downloaded, emailed and commented upon.

Adweek’s Barbara Lippert has already weighed in.

The upshot here is surprisingly big, human and genuinely moving. It works from every angle. For the recipients, it’s that old chestnut of the gift that keeps on giving; they get a serious camera, previously reserved for the digerati and professional photographers, and with it a lifelong gift of creative possibilities; for Nikon, “Picturetown” is a user-generated, organic, 360-degree experiential campaign that covers nontraditional ad bases, plus writes, photographs and keeps updating itself.

Sam Cannon at Organic also picked up on it.

An elegant campaign site pays homage to the results — compelling amateur photography with plenty of story and humanity — with a proper balance of editorial and consumer-generated sensibility.

In the comments on the Organic post, a couple people also mention they’re considering a South Carolina vacation. I don’t think it’s the Palemetto state’s natural beauty alone that’s leading people to consider this. Both Cannon and Lippert talk about how “human” this campaign is. Nikon and McCann have captured small town America (and its inhabitants) in a unique way, making it seem romantic and inviting.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.