Polaroid, past, present and future

June 11 2010

Interestingly enough, the Polaroid brand seems to be going in two different directions simultaneously. January 2010 found them at a big event announcing the appointment of Lady Gaga as Chief Creative Officer, Imaging Products. Her job is to "create" fashion, technology and photography products. She said that, "I'm working to bring the instant film camera back as part of the future." Okay, that sounds vague and compelling because it's Gaga + Polaroid. Why did they pick her? Their sound bite: "The core of the brand is that it's real, it's unedited, and it captures the moment." So the Lady and Polaroid ostensibly dovetail in the unedited part of their brand.

Today it was announced that The Impossible Project, a company of former Polaroid employees, have come together to save the last existing plant manufacturing Polaroid film. This has been percolating for awhile. They have opened stores in New York, Berlin and Vienna (hotbeds of analogue film users, I guess). They are selling SX-70 film and have re-issued the classic Polaroid 600 camera from 1958, pictured here.

I find this fascinating. The corporate move is towards a superstar who does not deal in the realm of the personal. The former Polaroid workers are in the analogue space, responding to people's desire for instant communications with an instant film camera. I find their move to be more in line with the way we connect through social networking -- very personal and immediate. So they have taken an old medium and are making it accessible to a new generation of consumers who want a quick fix. It's much more reflective of where we are now as a culture.

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