The “Real” Social Media

By Michael Chatfield
Agency: Partners + Napier
Client: Kodak
Category: 2010

Intro: The following case study tells the story of how provocative research uncovered a global insight about the emotional power of sharing images. This led to the development of a digital platform where consumers all over the world can engage and share with each other.

Partners + Napier is agency of record for Kodak, and I serve as lead planner for digital and product-related initiatives. I serve as assistant planner to Chief Strategy Officer John Roberts on initiatives related to the Kodak master brand, and led the strategic development of the video, creative, and digital platform discussed in this case study.

Context: As a people, we’re more connected than ever. But while the Internet, e-mail, texting, and social media have made it easier to make connections, it’s harder than ever to make meaningful ones. It’s just another example of the tension that exists between humanity and technology.

But Kodak has always bridged this gap, showing how the power of technology can bring people closer, helping them create meaningful connections. George Eastman did it when he made democratizing photography his life’s mission. And Kodak continues today, creating products that make it easier to capture, manage, and share images—to strengthen relationships.

It’s what we call “emotional technology.”

In early 2010, we launched the Real Kodak Moments campaign, which redefined the “Kodak Moment” as the moment of sharing, not image capture as it was previously thought to be. I was the planner responsible for translating this new brand message to the products—developing the creative messaging strategy for five new product launches.

The client then came to us with a unique and challenging opportunity: Kodak was being featured on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice in just seven weeks, and the campaign had no online presence to send fans to after the show.

The client’s primary objective: inspire people to share their Kodak Moments. Kodak needed a website. Or did they?

Why just another “website” wasn’t the answer: Kodak doesn’t need another website. Our target doesn’t need another website. The world doesn’t need another website. What does the world need?

We all need a sense of belonging and affirmation. We crave it. That’s why we’re on Facebook. That’s why we’re sharing pictures and videos. We get the belonging and affirmation when we share. The real Kodak Moment happens when you share.

What Kodak needed was a platform for sharing real Kodak Moments—one that could serve as the activation point for consumers for multiple and disparate brand efforts, tying them all together. A digital platform that would live on longer than those individual efforts alone ... and maybe live forever. One that leverages and enriches the properties we already have invested in. A sharing platform that consumers can integrate into their lives, that adds value and grows over time.

Approach to research: We knew that before we could create a platform for consumers all over the world to share, we needed to understand the significance of image sharing on a global level. We needed to find out what the real Kodak Moment meant to people all over the world. We knew it would be critical to unearth the one key insight that unites us all.

Creating a global documentary: Like most planners, we’re visual people, and because Kodak is an imaging company, it made perfect sense to bring our target audience to life so that we could see and feel the emotion that sharing images creates for people all over the world. We led the development of a documentary in which we asked consumers across the globe to share the powerful stories behind their favorite pictures. The brief for this was actually a very similar video that I shot locally on a Kodak pocket video camera. As lead agency, we then engaged Kodak’s agency partners in several countries to send us footage of local consumers sharing their emotional stories. The result was a tear-jerking and insightful portrayal of real Kodak Moments all over the world.

Unearthing a global insight: We learned that people don’t take pictures—they capture memories, moments.

Pictures facilitate how people remember, share, and celebrate their stories. It’s actually when people share the stories captured in images that the images become even more emotionally valuable, truly becoming theirs.

The insight: People everywhere crave affirmation and a sense of belonging. Sharing pictures helps achieve this.

Capitalizing on that insight: We make emotional technology that deepens and strengthens human relationships—it’s our brand mission. We do it by being the champions of sharing. Because “the real Kodak Moment happens when you share.” It’s more than a tagline, it’s true—it’s the emotional reaction to an image that gives you the affirmation and sense of belonging people crave. Human emotion is brought to life through sharing—and sharing human emotion brings us together.

While there are a million things in this world that separate us, every person on this planet shares the same palette of human emotions. So by sharing pictures, we’re really sharing our emotions. The human bond, that affirmation, that sense of belonging that we crave brings us closer together. Emotions unite us.

The creative strategy: The curator of human emotions.

The idea: We created Kodak Moments, a digital platform consisting of an organic stream of moments (pictures and videos) that adds the sentiment and emotional context (stories and feelings) in a compelling visual experience for users to explore. The platform allows users to upload their content from their favorite social media sites and tell the powerful stories behind their images. It also allows other users to react, tagging each piece of content with the emotion that it evokes. (Visit for the full experience.)

Results: Despite no paid media driving to the site, it has tallied over 136,000+ total page views— 27,000 visitors from 135 countries. More important, now Kodak has a consumer engagement platform that can live on beyond the campaign, possibly forever. It can gain value over time. It can grow to become the world’s digital exhibition of the emotional moments that define our culture.