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Saturday, January 21, 2006

One for the Cultural Anthropologists

The major Japanese 35mm camera manufacturers have often assigned different model designations to the low-end and midrange camera models that sell in large numbers in different markets, to help them maintain control over distribution channels. If a Nikon F801 showed up on the shelves of a Brooklyn retailer, you knew at a glance who was dealing in gray-market merchandise.

This little game became more interesting when, in place of the traditional techie-sounding letters and numbers, Canon started to give its cameras real names linked to its marketing themes. In the United States, the low-end EOS SLR became the Rebel: just the sort of macho camera a sweaty, unshaven Andre Agassi would grab to snap some victory pics after demolishing his opponent on the tennis court. But in Japan, the land of cute, and a place where low-end SLRs are often marketed as women's cameras, the very same product became the Rebel's polar opposite: the Kiss. In Europe, alas, Canon stuck with the numbers and letters. Perhaps one of The Online Photographer's European readers can enlighten us as to the cultural implications of that.

Minolta did the same sort of thing, branding its low-end autofocus SLRs as "Sweet" in Japan. Now that Sony is taking over the remnants of Konica Minolta's camera business, perhaps there's a "Sony Sweet" SLR just around the corner....

PS: In one of the more bizarre pieces of cultural fusion I've seen in a while, the current Canon marketing campaign for the Kiss Digital N in Japan has taken the "Kiss" theme to what may be its logical conclusion; at least, it's hard to imagine where else they could go from here. See for yourself. (If the animation doesn't work on your computer, you can still get the idea from the banner here.)

Posted by: OREN GRAD

Featured Comment: Eolake writes, "I've actually often thought that I'd like more imaginative camera names than DS-20045s or LZ-5x. But on the other hand, if the the alternative is 'Kiss' or 'Rebel,' maybe not."

5 Comments:

Blogger bjorke said...

Like Marlboro, it's conceived as a product for women. Canon USA simply hasn't got the ability to figure that one out... they're still used to putting camera ads in the sports page.

2:16 AM  
Blogger eolake said...

"In Europe, alas, Canon stuck with the numbers and letters. Perhaps one of The Online Photographer's European readers can enlighten us as to the cultural implications of that."

Hmm... Maybe we're more down-to-Earth?

Or maybe we're seen as unimaginative?

Or maybe the Nips have run out of good ideas after naming the local and the US variants? :)

I've actually often thought that I'd like more imaginative camera names than DS-20045s or LZ-5x. But on the other hand, if the the alternative is "Kiss" or "Rebel", maybe not.

Eolake
eolake.blogspot.com

9:08 AM  
Blogger Matt Kerr said...

Europe has a bunch of different languages. I think that numbers (like bmw and merc seem to do for their models) are more multi lingual.

11:37 PM  
Blogger fotowork said...

Jestem pana fanem z Polski, przepraszam że po polsku ale mój angielski jest tak na 20%. zapraszam tez na fotolabratorium.blogspot.com
tyle że też po polsku.

"Jeżeli wykożystuje pana nazwisko to tylko w dobrej mierze, nie mam zamiaru nikogo obrazić, jeżeli się panu to nie spodoba to wycofam post"
Pozdrawiam fotowork

11:53 AM  
Blogger fotowork said...

ps przepraszam za błędy ortograficzne.


fotowork

11:54 AM  

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