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Who Took My Kodachrome Away

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Okay, it’s post-CES and a lot has happened there that I plan on blogging about – the PR of CES, and how the show went.

But, first is Kodak, technically Eastman Kodak for first reference. Oh, what happened to that great company that I got to work on at Shandwick? Where has it gone?

All the stuff below makes me think that the company has lost its PR center, and is now just glomming onto current trends and fads … and it’s losing that battle. Here’s a hint: do smarter PR and stop trying so damn hard. Where’s your interaction with bloggers? Where’s the ability to post photos from Ofoto to blogs? Why do reporters still talk to me and then say … btw, we never hear from your old company?

First, the Skype announcement. Now you can talk on Skype and then send a slideshow from Kodak. Um, okay, but why? Is it a sad way to glom onto the Skype hype? I just don’t get it. I have been using Skype since close to day 1, and if I want to share photos I can IM a link to Flickr, an open photo site where anyone can view my photos without me having to share them. I went to the booth to get a demo … but no luck on it working. But, granted, I came at the end of the last day (working the show, ya know) so I’ll cut them some slack. But, come on – it’s something that really makes no sense to me, but seems like a grasping at straws. Who needs to share photos while talking in another open window … in a slideshow … that can’t be done with a link in an IM window?

Second, not sure who is more short-sighted on this one: the internal Kodak person that said yes, or the agency that suggested it. Either way, it’s a damn close tie on what can be seen as idiocy. Eastman Kodak changed its logo. Om Malik put it well that it’s a new logo, but the same old irrelevance – and then makes what I think is a Freudian slip and calls Kodak a phone company (Kodak and Motorola at CES). Okay, let’s think this through: let’s kill a logo that is recognizable worldwide (the big giant red K since 1971) and go with something that is somewhat unmemorable – they even got rid of the K serif. Let’s imagine Coca-Cola killing the wave, or Nike killing the swoosh – makes no sense, huh? I have a great idea, though – let’s kill all worldwide known logos and symbols, such as the McDonald’s arches. That will teach them! Yeah!!

Third, I am on the fence about this one. On one hand, I see the value, on the other hand, I think it’s just a desperation move. So, I’ll put it out there for others to discuss. It turns out that Kodak gave away about 75 of its new digicam at Ghost Bar at Wynn Hotel. First, not sure that reporters should be accepting a gift that big (MSRP of USD$399.95), but also what was the reasoning behind Kodak giving away these cameras? What was the PR strategy – let’s give away cameras to reporters, and then the next time that they write an article about the company, they will think twice before going on the negative attack? Are these reporters now beholden to Kodak and its PR firm?

And, come on, was this really the best they could think to do at CES? Back in the day, I became friends with a few reporters and we would go out to dinner … and none of them would ever let me pay (which, come on, was great). Now, do I fault these reporters for taking the camera? Heck no, I’d have done the same thing, and am now pissed that I never finished my registration as press. Do I fault Kodak for handing them out? A little bit, because there must have been something else that could have been done to get press – and during the review process, there is always that special price that reporters do get.

I will be writing about CES more, and then posting my CES pictures later … on Flickr.

Jeremy Pepper is the CEO and founder of POP! Public Relations, a public relations firm based in Arizona, USA.

He authors the popular Musings from POP! Public Relations blog which offers Jeremy’s opinions and views – on public relations, publicity and other things.

Who Took My Kodachrome Away
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