Generation Y Test Market for New Green Screen Lighting Kits Creates 6-Minute Web Show in 4-Hour Documentary
TOLEDO, Oh. – Feb. 1, 2009 – While attending a conference at the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) headquarters in Jackson, Michigan this past June, it dawned on me that the Generation Y consumer, who we were being advised to market to, will soon be vital to everyone’s ongoing success in this industry. After all, even in this weak economy, the Gen Y’s are still running around with the best (and not the cheapest) technology our market has to offer: iPhones, iPods, digital cameras, video cameras, laptop computers, they have it all.
Back in 2006 at this same conference, PMA urged us to start marketing to “Jennifer”, a 24-44 year old woman with an average of two children. Statistically, she was the major decision maker when it came to large family purchases and the one responsible for keepsaking family memories. We heard this loud and clear, and created a completely new Westcott division _ Photo Basics _ targeted to “Jennifer”, with a product offering of educational lighting kits starting at $99. It was launched in December of 2006, and one year later represented almost 20% of our total annual photographic business. It was the right product at the right time.
So the big question now is – what is the right product for these times? I think we all have two options. The first is creating a hot new product or technology that no one else has. Canon did this with their new EOS 5D Mark II announcing full frame, 21.1 Megapixel camera with full High Definition video capability. The second is to embrace this new generation of customers – Generation Y. I think it’s evident that the lines between photo and video are slowly blurring, and that trend will continue.
We put our focus on Generation Y and quickly learned that their technology is often driven by fantasy. Become a rock star with Guitar Hero, interact with the new Wii gaming system and upload video clips to YouTube.com. We decided to bring fantasy to the photo and video market by using technology that already exists – Green Screen. Did you know if you search Green Screen on YouTube.com you can find over 28,000 posts, with some getting almost a million hits?
Our product concept consisted of a kit that includes lights, a large wrinkle_resistant Green Screen, a digital image DVD, a video footage DVD _ all supported by TONS of education. Once we found the product that displayed the quality and ease of use we needed, we moved on to education. Without quality education, the product could quickly become a hassle to use. We needed to test both the product and the education on the product’s main target group.
Because there are no Generation Y members among Westcott’s associates or the photographers and videographers we generally do business with, we decided to assemble a panel of 8 kids from all around the Toledo, Ohio area (ages 7-14) to see if they could understand and use our kit, and find out what they would enjoy or dislike about the product and technology. To take it a step further, we gave them 4 hours to create a 6-minute web show, and broke the kids up into groups. Groups were responsible for learning their part as cameraman, photographer, post production editor, equipment manager, lighting, sound and talent. They were given two hours of instruction on their particular job, and then two hours
to complete the live shoot to show off what they learned.
We were amazed as the children wrote their own scripts, handled the equipment with ease, breezed through post production, and even used Garage Band to create the music. (I had to google Garage Band as I had no idea what it even was). One child told me he creates his class reports now on video and 6 out of the 8 children knew what Green Screen technology was from watching iCarly on the Disney Channel.
The bottom line is that Generation Y is ready for our industry to service their world of technology, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. As an industry, we need to embrace the opportunity to serve this market.
March 2009, Photo Basics proudly introduces two new Green Screen Kits. Street price = $249.90. Videos of our test market are available upon request.
About The F.J. Westcott Company
Westcott headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, is a leading manufacture of light control equipment, backgrounds and accessories for professional imagemakers in photography, video, and broadcast fields.