When Yahoo acquired Flickr and del.icio.us – the question on most marketers minds was how they would integrate these into profitable networks for advertising without alienating already loyal users who were used to an ad-free experience. The answer for the first few months after acquisition appeared to be to do nothing other than add the "a Yahoo Company" tag to the bottom of both sites and to let them exist untouched. Now the waiting period is over, it seems, at least for Flickr. In visiting Flickr this past weekend, I found a dedicated link at the bottom of the homepage to the "Nikon Stunning Gallery." The link leads to a dedicated homepage showing images from the Stunning Gallery, and information about Nikon’s new Coolpix s60 digital camera. Each thumbnail photo leads back to the Flickr gallery with all photos tagged with the term "nikonstunninggallery." The call to action from the site is simple … upload your photos onto Flickr and tag them to be part of the Nikon Stunning Gallery. I am not sure how long this promotion has been running, but to date there are nearly 17,000 photos in this gallery – and it’s growing.
This promotion is simple, relatively easy to implement and perfectly on brand for Nikon. Over the last few decades, the company had well established itself as the choice for pros and "pro-sumers" in the SLR market, but gotten left behind somewhat in the digital photography revolution. The Stunning Gallery positions Nikon again as the choice for photographers of all levels serious about capturing stunning moments in images. Best of all, it doesn’t alienate Flickr users, but rather engages them in the promotion and encourages them to add their content to this gallery. As a true cross promotion, it also invites Nikon users who don’t use Flickr to open an account and upload their photos. I wouldn’t be surprised if over time the gallery gets well over 100,000 images. Perhaps not all of them will be truly stunning, as most people would tend to overestimate our photographic talent … but like most amateur photographers who will browse the images already uploaded, I get the feeling this is a gallery I want my best images to be a part of.
Update 10/10/06: Read more about Nikon’s additional WOM efforts in a great follow up post at the Strategic Name Development blog.