Kodak, Out of the Dark (Room)

Kodak EasyPrinter.jpg

Eastman Kodak’s Jeffrey W. Hayzlett doesn’t mince his words when he discusses the 128-year-old’s company changing business model and marketing approach.

As the sale of digital cameras took off, Kodak saw the revenue from film sales slide.

So, the company had to reinvent itself.

In one major change in its product lineup, Kodak sells a photo printer with low cost ink refills that cost $9.99 per cartridge (black) and $14.99 (five-color) compared to the higher prices for rivals’ products.

To promote its EasyShare printers, Kodak cut a deal to sponsor and be featured on NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice.” During the episode, teams of celebrity contestants were charged with creating a Kodak mobile printing station in New York City promoting Kodak’s printer lineup. “We put the Kodak Moment experiment into action on the sidewalks of New York,” said Hayzlett, Kodak chief business development officer, during the keynote speech today at ad:tech SF.

Sales of the printer doubled the week after the episode aired, according to Hayzlett.

“My job inside within the company is to create tension. To get people to the edge of the table, not go over the edge,” said Hayzlett, who estimates that at least 10 percent of Kodak’s advertising budget is allocated to online initiatives.

Kodak also recently launched an online video, which features Vincent Pastore (better known as Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero from “The Sopranos” feeding a Kodak rival’s printer to the fish.

Hayzlett especially liked a headline about that video. It reads: “Big Pussy Beats The Shit Out of a Printer in the Name of Low Ink Prices.”

“I would love to write that headline, but I cannot,” he said. “This is great. This is f*cking awesome,” said Hayzlett.

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