Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"It's a Powell's Books Cult Thing"

Lately, identical photos of people standing in front of Powell's Books, downtown Portland, have been appearing all over Facebook, envelopes for holiday cards, and families’ inboxes overseas. It's like a group of book-obsessed hooligans have conspired to meet outside of Powell's, pose in the exact same place, and hi-jack the marquee lettering.

Well, there is a simpler explanation for the epidemic. The masterminds at ID Branding have teamed up with Portland landmark, Powell's City of Books, to create a unique interactive promotional experience for book-lovers all over the world.

The green screen, photo-booth extravaganza, found at Powell's until September 26th, serves as a flawless online promotional gig that tempts the savants, excites the narcissists and leaves the sentimental in awe. Because Powell's is such a notorious place, it reserves the right to have a little fun with its fans in a mutually beneficial way. Customers are given the opportunity to get a digital photo of them superimposed in front of the store with their name on the marquee, FREE! People visit Portland from millions of miles away with stepping foot in Powell's Bookstore at the top of their tourism hit list and they want proof they made it there. Aside from the occasional token shy kid, who is often dragged into the booth anyway by his determined mother, local Portlanders are equally enthused by the promotion.

Many ask, “What is the catch?”

You sign up for the Powell' newsletter, you get 20% off the online store. Don't care about the newsletter? That's cool, either way the beloved photo will be in your inbox and Powell's will soak up the publicity by posing behind your smiling face.

As if providing a free-of-charge photography session wasn't enough, the overall feel of the campaign itself, including the copy of the forms, instantaneousness and personalization it offers achieves a genuine for-the-consumer feel. By strategically paying attention to what people actually want, it is able to excite them in the smallest of ways.

The older demographic will almost indefinably ask "how long until we receive the photo?" when I tell them it is as soon as I click ‘send’, they freak out. The instantaneousness of the photo completely baffles the generation who continue to favor the cord-tangled home phones.

The form reads: "NO, I cannot bear a long-distance relationship. Please do not subscribe me to your newsletter or send me a 20% off coupon." This one sparks a hefty chuckle in about 1 in 5 victims. It’s difficult to turn down a useful discount in the first place but the wit makes it irresistible.

The pure genius of this campaign lies in its ability to provoke consumers to actively identify with the store. Once Facebook users began to choose to include the Powell's logo in their profile photo, over the 123,239 kissy-face-mirror shots they took Monday night, I figure it is safe to say that the campaign has exceeded its original goal. Customers increasingly begin to claim their reason for visiting Powell's is solely to snap a photo, like the one they had seen on FB, for their next profile photo.

The campaign has created its own clientele all together. An overwhelmingly joyful woman saw the booth for the first time and immediately planed to return on the 23rd to take a photo for this year’s holiday card. She returned smitten in a Santa hat eager to share her love for Powell’s. I foresee a resurrection of the booth, ‘holiday style’.

Flat Stanley, marriage proposals, traditional dancers and seeing-eye dogs have made their debut at the booth as well.

Go ID Branding, keep on rockin' it Powell's!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What really gets my juices pumpin' is beautiful photoprahy

I put together a collage-type collection of some lovely photos. I think my aesthetic has officially been established.

Monday, May 17, 2010