Uniting the brand and core product with the launch of Polaroid Originals was just the beginning. Now we’re aligning under a common vision and mission, to build a forward-thinking and innovative future for this beloved brand.
Company to further integrate business units and strategy under newly-established Polaroid BV: with Oskar Smolokowski at the helm
In 2017, the majority shareholders of the analog instant photography company the Impossible Project (Impossible GmbH) acquired PLR IP Holdings, LLC, the owner of the Polaroid brand. A few months later, the Impossible Project rebranded as Polaroid Originals and proudly launched the Polaroid OneStep 2, the first analog instant camera for the original 3x4” format from the iconic Polaroid brand in over a decade. At the upcoming IFA trade show in Berlin, the company will introduce the next generation of instant photography products: the Bluetooth-connected analog instant Polaroid OneStep+ camera with the accompanying Polaroid Originals app, and the most portable Polaroid camera to date, the Polaroid Mint 2-in-1 instant digital camera and printer, as well as the Polaroid Mint instant digital pocket printer.
Today, the company is announcing the establishment of its new global headquarters in Amsterdam. As of September 1st, Polaroid BV will operate out of the Amsterdam HQ, with Oskar Smolokowski at the helm, fostering more direct access and a more streamlined relationship between the Polaroid Originals team and Polaroid Originals factory in Enschede, the Netherlands.
Polaroid BV, the newly-formed parent organization into which the Polaroid Originals and Polaroid business units will report, will develop and implement a united, global vision for the Polaroid group of companies.
April Lunde, who succeeded Scott Hardy as CEO of Polaroid earlier this year, will continue as CEO and General Counsel. Her responsibilities will include oversight and direction of Polaroid’s global licensing business, as well as Polaroid Originals operations in North America. Additionally, Smolokowski and Lunde are leading a team of Polaroid executives in refining the company’s portfolio of licensed products, intensifying the focus on product design and quality, and bringing the business unit in line with Polaroid’s long-term vision for the brand. The Polaroid business unit will continue to operate out of its Minnetonka, Minnesota location.
Pierre Darnton, who served as Head of Global Sales for the Impossible Project, will take over as the CEO of Polaroid Originals. Darnton was a driving force behind the introduction of the Polaroid Originals brand into the global consumer market. His depth of experience with the Impossible Project and Polaroid Originals makes him ideally suited to reinforce analog instant photography as a future-facing product. Starting in October 2018, the Polaroid Originals operation in Berlin will close down and transition over to Amsterdam.
“I’m very excited about the new developments at Polaroid,” Smolokowski says. “Uniting the brand and core product with the launch of Polaroid Originals was just the beginning. Now we’re aligning under a common vision and mission, to build a forward-thinking and innovative future for this beloved brand.”
Polaroid is one of the world’s most respected and recognizable brands, with a rich history of innovation and engineering prowess built primarily on Polaroid instant cameras and film. Founded by Edwin Land in 1937, Polaroid created instant photography as we know it today with the launch of the breakthrough Polaroid SX-70 camera in 1972. This was followed by landmark releases such as the original Polaroid OneStep, color instant film, and the Polaroid 600 and Spectra cameras and film formats. Artists including Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton, Robert Mapplethorpe, Maripol, Keith Haring and Guy Bourdin used and were inspired by Polaroid, raising it to the status of a cultural icon.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the swift rise of digital technology eclipsed instant photography and Polaroid announced the end of instant film production in 2008. Subsequently, the company reorganized from a vertical manufacturing structure to a licensing model, partnering with select manufacturers to deliver a range of consumer electronics products in markets around the world. This range, which included the leading portable digital instant camera, was designed to deliver the fun, instant gratification and creative freedom for which the brand has long stood.
During that time, a dedicated group of instant photography fans called the Impossible Project stepped in to buy the last remaining Polaroid factory and since then have been the only people in the world making film for vintage Polaroid cameras. The acquisition of the Polaroid brand by the Impossible Project's largest shareholder in the spring of 2017 created the opportunity for Polaroid to return to analog instant photography and for the Impossible Project to declare mission accomplished.
Polaroid Originals is now the brand dedicated to reinventing analog instant photography for the modern era. The brand’s launch on September 13th, 2017 marked the 80th anniversary of the founding of Polaroid. Both Polaroid Originals and Polaroid are now organized as business units under the parent organization Polaroid BV.
Polaroid, Polaroid Originals & Design, Polaroid OneStep, Polaroid SX-70, Polaroid 600, and Polaroid Spectra are trademarks of PLR IP Holdings, LLC.
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R&J Strategic Communications on behalf of Polaroid