80 years. That’s how long it’s been since Polaroid launched the first time. The company no longer survives in its originality, but the brand lives on through the Impossible Project (Polaroid Originals), which acquired Polaroid Corporation in May of 2017. Led by 28-year-old CEO Oskar Smolokowski, the company triumphed last week with the unveiling of its first product, the OneStep 2, a retro nod to the 1977 OneStep analog camera.
As CNNTech reports, the OneStep2 includes:
- Built-in flash
- 8 LED lights indicating film left available
- Self-timer capabilities
- 60-day battery (hey, now…)
- USB charging
But these features, while appropriate, aren’t the real purchase driver, especially considering the photo magic of most smartphones today. Here’s why people will buy it regardless of the actual tech capability:
1. Retro is hot, especially when nostalgic
Throwback products are hottest among millennials. Millennials are open to retro products and nostalgia marketing because, in the face of hectic schedules, impersonal digital media and increasing responsibility, the positive memories of simpler times that retro products evoke keep consumers optimistic.
2. Analog photography now is novel compared to ubiquitous digital
From the scientific point of view, it’s novelty that the brain pays attention to and that prompts the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine.
3. Modern consumers are experiential
We are increasingly spending money on non-tangible things, such as vacations or a massage. In this context, elements of using the OneStep 2 such as touching the picture, watching it develop, or embracing the imperfections within the image all offer an experience completely different from snapping a digital photo.
4. Buyers are digitally overloaded
Consumers are bombarded with screens every day, so much so that they are (to a degree) revolting. People are still opting for print over e-books, for example, because they are screen fatigued.
In other words, it’s not about exactly how the product was tweaked. It’s about being able to match an existing product to what we become. Smolokowski gambled he’d be able to do that, and now, the time is right. That, ultimately, is the picture of continued relevance.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.