Nikon ‘Four Weddings’ / We Are Pi
It’s difficult to get long-form content right: consumers are so used to minute-long ads that race through product features and brand proposition that watching a spot which sits uncomfortably between standard ad and long-form territory, at three or four minutes long, can fail to capture their attention. True long-form content can be equally off-putting – who has the time to sit down and watch a ten-minute ad?
It’s a bold move, then, from Nikon to roll out a 20-minute documentary shot entirely on a Nikon D850 and NIKKOR lenses to promote the new model – and it’s paid off. The moving subject matter of the film and its literal universality makes for appealing and endearing content which powerfully demonstrates the capabilities of the latest Nikon camera.
Four women feature in the short film: an ex-army veteran from the US; an Indian bride with an arranged marriage; a Romanian couple living in France, who returned to their home village for their wedding day; and a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer. They’re interviewed about their relationships – how they started, and how their other half proposed – and followed as they put on wedding dresses and make-up and prepare themselves emotionally for their big day.
Priyamvada from Rajasthan in India expresses her excitement at her arranged marriage and her sadness about the prospect of leaving home, while Esmeralda, a US army veteran living in Cambridge, explains that she met her partner when she was deployed in Iraq. ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ was still in effect at the time and led to her being discharged when it was discovered her ‘summer fling’ was with another woman. Ilenuca describes feeling like an outsider in France; her comfort and happiness at being home in Breb, Romania, surrounded by family and friends for her wedding is obvious. Emma from Devon met her husband at a gig when they were talking about ‘what the best thing was to throw out of a hotel window’. A year after being diagnosed with breast cancer, she was told she also had cancer in her lungs, liver and bones. Getting married, despite the fact she had previously never planned to, was part of her and her husband’s commitment to keep living and planning for the future.
This beautifully-made documentary is also a piece of marketing genius, appealing to several very different target markets at once. Plenty of photographers are fiercely loyal to either Nikon or Canon, readily jumping to defend the merits of one and attack the other brand – but plenty more professionals and amateurs are questioning if there really is a meaningful difference in their equipment.
For those with the technical knowledge to understand how well the camera performs against previous Nikon and competitor models, the film provides first-hand evidence. Several supporting videos have also been released on YouTube, featuring Will Patrick, the professional photographer at all four weddings, who talks about the different features on the D850 – its resolution, versatility, dynamic range and more. Don’t take Nikon’s word for it that its product is better: the camera giant is willing to prove it.
And while casual users are probably not the target market for the D850 – which retails at a whopping £3,499 – the format of the spot allows Nikon to promote its general brand proposition, and its products for the average consumer. After all, the D850 is far from the only model it produces, and if Nikon’s higher-end cameras can deliver great quality it stands to reason that the entry-level options will be the best of their kind too. The ubiquity of websites like Instagram has seen the popularity of amateur photography skyrocket – Nikon is cashing in on this, demonstrating that it isn’t an exclusively high-end, high-tech brand for camera professionals.
It also caters to those without an interest in photography but a keen desire to capture their most precious moments. Last week’s spotlight shone on ‘Find Your Rich’ by San Miguel, an ad which uses increasingly popular purpose over product marketing, and it seems that Nikon is getting back on the bandwagon in a big way. This short film showcases a brand that wants to see relationships flourish, giving consumers the opportunity to visually document their lives and interactions with each other.