Thursday, October 20, 2011

CVS collaborates with Kodak, who cares...really. A tale of a recent classic fail.

This fiasco has been going on long enough to analyze some of the outcome.
CVS Caremark (CVS) recently in cahoots with Eastman Kodak (EK), another silly attempt by Kodak to make some kind of money somewhere in the market. It is pretty pathetic really, the biggest problem always being the lack of promotion of the product. The product (or service) for those who haven't heard; being the integration of facebook in the photo department of CVS. CVS doesn't really care actually. They have enough money and just got a little bit more by signing a deal with Kodak to feature their products in their store.
However, the concept is a pretty cool service actually. Customers don't have to bring in their digital camera or card to get pictures printed but can as of right now do so directly by logging into their facebook accout in CVS and print pictures by logging into their facebook accounts. However once again it is very poor execution on both sides. Neither company is really promoting the new product that could actually bloom into something nice. The 'workers' or 'clerks' (although I hate that word) at CVS are nothing else but - well.... 'clerks'. Instead of doing a little bit extra like promoting products, promotions or services in the store. When there are no customers at the check-stand, usually this is a perfect opportunity for the 'workers' to tell each other how their day went. There is certainly no-one telling customers about new promotions or deals or in this case the new social media integration, which is by the way by far the biggest in the world, in the CVS's photo department.
But the truth is, no one really cares - from the customers to the people that work there. I actually came across it accidentally when I was bored at the long line at the check stand which happened to be next to the photo department. A little icon showed facebook, and I'm an avid facebook user myself, so I couldn't resist to put my finger on the facebook icon to check out the new service. I'm pretty tech savvy but even I couldn't figure out how to print out actually prints. It showed me everything from T-Shirts, Mugs etc.... but what happened to actually printing a photo? If I couldn't figure it out, how about an average person that just signed up for facebook. Why would it be so complicated? I was looking for two big buttons that where missing; "Log In To Facebook" and "Print Pictures". Besides, even if you use facebook... could you think of pictures in your 'photo album' you would like to print that are somewhat representable? Forget all the drunk party pictures, I'm talking about the image quality that people use in facebook in general. Not many people have actual 'printable' quality pictures on there. Do you really want to put a Kodak stamp on that?
I get worked up over this and I don't know why really. Maybe it's the sad stories afterwards when a company like Eastman Kodak may go out of business because its competitor, likely foreign, came out with a better concept and product, which seems to happen a lot lately.
Could this be Kodak's last attempt to make something happen in their industry? If so this last attempt is really pathetic. Sometimes you may have to stay away from these ideas because, like many other ideas by Kodak, their too outdated, overdone or simply not the right choice.
It's sad really because there are so many people working for this company, that once used to be a staple in American and world wide households, that now fear for their jobs. People whos lives will be affected tremendously if Eastman Kodak goes out of business.
I'm not saying that CVS's 'fantastic' photo program has to take all the blame for it, but it is certainly not helping the company either. They could spend their money, time and energy into a different sort of promotion for their product.

In my opinion this is a perfect example of a classic fail.

Is Kodak doomed? Ever since the recession Kodak has been struggling with their stock price with is now at a $1.24, coming from the double digit range before the great recession. The answer to that question; Yeah pretty much. They simply can't get enough cash flow coming in to operate the company. Their competitors FUJI (FUJIY - ADR) and Canon (CAJ) are just better managed and capitalized companies. It's sad to see EK go, but ultimately it's paying the price for poor marketing techniques.


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