Friday, September 28, 2007

Pentax's Pentaxian Website

You didn't think I'd go a whole month without posting, did you? Well, I missed you guys the last little while. I've been busy, but now let's get back to fun.

Pentax hasn't announced anything new (SLR-wise) for the fall, yet, but a lot of the other camera companies have. You may have heard something about the Nikon D300 and D3, or the Canon 40D, or the Olympus E3. Some really great cameras are making their way to market. And, consequently, we all want to know if Pentax has anything planned along those lines. I'll wager they probably do, but it's not likely going to be at market before Christmas. Which is okay, because that'll mean in six months the D300 will be old news, and any new Pentax will be, well, new. I don't have any inside knowledge I'm referring to, by the way, just experience. It's a teeter-totter world.

But Pentax has rallied the troops. Calling on all Pentaxians to appreciate just what they've got, here and now. In early September, Pentax lifted the veil on (make sure you have the very latest Adobe Flash installed - seriously).

A screen grab of is a fleshed out idea based on the marketing Pentax did earlier this year to appeal to the community spirit of Pentax users, sort of the same way Apple's early Think Different campaign by Chiat-Day worked. It allows Pentax users to see themselves as a part of an accomplished and vital group of photographers. Various notable photographers are profiled on the site, each with their own video bio, gear list, and online portfolio. If you can identify with any of them, and there are enough examples to categorize most Pentax owners, then Pentax hopes you'll tap into your Pentax spirit (aka. loyalty) a bit and share your stories. There are message boards, a quiz, and global guestbook. And there are little easter eggs, too, that can lead you to win prizes. It's obviously meant to be a viral sort of site, but it's also a lot of bang for Pentax's marketing buck.

For example, on the quiz, which is loaded with inside jokes about LBA, I qualified as a "most hardcore Pentaxian," similar to their profiled photographer Kerrick James, who could be considered "a kindred spirit." The experience was successfully interactive. I could then browse to see what gear Kerrick uses. He has better stuff than me, but I won't hold it against him.

And don't forget the rallying cry text of each of those great T-shirts, posters and Pentaxian ads ("We’re lousy at marketing. Never been much for self-promotion. Here’s the thing: we’re a bunch of photography nerds. We’d rather be using our cameras than blathering on about them," etc.), they're all at the site, too. Honestly, there's some excellent ad copy writing that was done. One promo that really struck a chord with me is the Lemmings ad, with the kids all lined up in the rain, because I honestly feel that too many consumers are victims of the brand desire that companies like Canon and Nikon create by spending millions each year with strategic marketing and product placement. In comparison, Pentax, of course, is an underdog marketer. I'd be hypocritical if I didn't acknowledge that I'm a willing participant in that game, but it's not like I'm Ken Rockwell and I make my living from this site. In fact, I like to think that a site like this helped Pentax develop the "Pentaxian" mentality that the company adopted for its campaign.



John said... is a really great site. I was wondering when you'd mention it.

A couple weeks ago I won one of the DA21 Limited lenses in their contest, and I didn't even know they had a contest going at the time! The lens arrived two days ago, and I am absolutely loving it.

The pro profiles are very interesting, especially to see how professionals go about their business of capturing scenes. Godfrey's video intrigued me in particular, since I'm a big fan of his work and have even been out shooting with him.

Some of the key words this ad campaign uses have been popularized by the folks on the Pentax Discuss Mailing List. "Pentaxian," for example, is a word we've used for years, though I'm not sure if a PDML user invented it.

I've been trying to find an excuse to wear my Pentaxian t-shirt. I may be a Die-Hard Pentaxian, but it's a little weird wearing a shirt that random passers-by want to read. ;)

Yvon Bourque said...


I'm glad to see you back on line. I like your unique way of posting your opinion and factual informations. I really hope Pentax is rising above the competition in some way, has they always have before the acquisition from Hoya. They are the underdogs compared to such giants as C & N, but I always choose the underdogs as they have to provide something extra to keep up.

Yvon Bourque

Dred242 said...

I enjoyed the Pentaxian site as well. It was fun to watch the videos of the featured photographers. I too have no where near the amount of EQ that these guys day maybe.


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