Polaroid Eyewear enlists Instagram influencers to mark 80th year as it looks to balance heritage with distinction

Polaroid Eyewear turns to Instagram influencers to mark it's 80th year as brand looks to balance heritage with distinction

Polaroid Eyewear may not be as embedded in culture as its former parent company, but the brand is looking to appeal to a fresh generation of consumers with investment in 250-strong cross-country influencer campaign.

There is no brand more synonymous with instant cameras than Polaroid. In recent years the company has leveraged its iconic status to stage a comeback as a lifestyle brand – it's become the camera de jour for many bloggers, its familiar white border-adorned pictures cluttering Instagram feeds everywhere.

Less well known is Polaroid Eyewear, the original focus of the business founded by Polaroid inventor Edwin Land in 1937. The firm initially produced Polaroid Day Glasses – the first sunglasses with a polarizing filter. The eyewear part of the business was spunoff and sold to StyleMark in 2007, before being snapped up by Italian-based specialist Safilo in 2011.

Safilo's porfolio of owned brands, which includes Carrerra and Oxydo, is facing increasingly stiff competition in the $90bn global eyewear market from the likes of Luxottica-owned Ray Ban and Oakley, as well as Johnson & Johnson's Acuvue. As such, the company has enlisted the help of 250 Instagram influencers from around the globe to ensure it stands out.

Earlier this week it launched a campaign in partnership with influencer network relatable.me which saw more than 250 influencers across the fashion and lifestyle segments post images of themselves styling the glasses. The global campaign took place across seven countries including the UK, Brazil, the US and France under the hashtags #InstantExperience and #PolaroidSun.

The push has been crafted to help celebrate the brand's 80th birthday – which it shares with Polaroid. Krister Karjalainen, Safilo's global, creative and digital media director explained that it decided to tap wa range of influencers big and small, saying they were selected for their affinity with the brand and ability to engage with their audience rather than reach.

"We've worked with influencers before, but not on this global scale," he admitted, saying that because social is "crowded" by luxury brands, Polaroid has to cut through the noise.

In a recent study, 65% of marketing professionals admitted to working with influencers, but of the 33% of those who said they didn't conceded it was because it was difficult to "effectively measure" the results of influence campaigns. When pressed on how Polaroid Eyewear will track its own Instagram drive, Karjalainen said engagement will be key.

"We're experimenting to see whether there an innovative way to connect with influencers, not just those who have millions and millions of followers. [For this campaign], we were looking for influencers that have a higher engagement rates, because we wanted to engage with consumers that can transform the message of our brand and also the story of our brand."

The ambassadors have been asked to upload their pictures in a carousel album format, meaning users can scroll through mulitple pictures with the last one directing them to a link which takes them to the brand's website.

Karjalainen claimed the international campaign is one of the biggest ever undertaken by a brand on Instagram, and says that navigating the various rules around how sponsored content is badged on Instagram across continents would have been "too complex," for the company to handle on its on. Relatable.me and the brand's own local PR experts helped the marketer's team overcome this hurdle.

Time will tell if Polaroid Eyewear's investment in influencer marketing pays off, but it is clear that the brand has been looking to Polaroid's camera marketing for inspiration by positioning itself products as stylish and classic lifestyle buys.

Karjalainen was careful to note that while his brand shares a history with its "well known and well loved," former parent company, it is seeking a balance that heritage with distinction: "Sometimes being part of the heritage of the camera side of the brand helps us but at the same time we want to emphasis that we are a separate eyewear brand," he said.

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