By 2000, I think it’s fair to say, the dream was over at Polaroid. The debt load was getting bigger and the digital-photo tidal wave that had been mounting for twenty years was cresting. In the absence of a great new idea coming out of the labs, Polaroid’s chairman and CEO, Gary DiCamillo, pursued a strategy of pumping out new products based on existing technology. It was a throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks strategy, and one thing did in fact stick: the Polaroid i-Zone.
And Britney was the spokesteen, y’all! And they made a video for it!
It was a little camera, about the dimensions of an office desk stapler, and it made photos the size of a conventional 135 slide or negative: 24 by 36 millimeters. You pulled them out of the camera on long paper tabs, as you can occasionally see in the video above. One variant of the film had the photos on an adhesive backing, so your pictures turned into stickers. And it was a smash. Teenagers and even younger kids loved it; adults were charmed.
Both Polaroid and Britney fell apart a few years later. Jury’s still out on both comebacks, though I wouldn’t count either one out yet.
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