Re-defining a traditional brand with content

Since William and Robert Black revolutionized the photography market in 1977 by introducing the now-standard 4x6 print, Black’s had been the single most recognizable national consumer photography brand in Canada.

Digital photo sharing and camera phones, however, had decimated the retail photography giant, which still had a store presence in nearly every mall in the country. The executive felt like it was caught in a no-win situation, stuck between servicing the disappearing print-oriented photography customer and fighting an impossible price war against big box electronics retailers.

Free, fast-paced episodes that took viewers along on sports assignments, fashion shoots, and breathtaking documentary projects.

Working with an established accounts team, I was tasked with not just repositioning the photo retailer, but attempting to reimagine the organization’s relationship with modern photo enthusiasts. The key would be reconnecting to the company’s most famous tagline: Black’s is photography.

An innovative hybrid of instructional video series, documentary brand film, and viral-ready internet property, Black’s School’d took a thoroughly contemporary approach to both photography instruction and branded entertainment content. Hosted by dynamic, award-winning photographers, School’d taught viewers about the fundamental elements of DSLR photography — exposure, composition, aperture, shutter speed, focal length, and flash — in free, fast-paced episodes that took viewers along on sports assignments, fashion shoots, and breathtaking documentary projects.

In addition to scripts and test footage I developed a retail strategy that involved point-of-sale, direct, and merchandising tie-ins with the School’d platform, and a series of community-based workshops for photo enthusiasts.