Just this week, Canon began promoting its newest product, the IVY REC: a tiny camera that clips onto a keychain, a necklace, and basically anything else you can think of.
The IVY REC is billed as “shockproof” and “waterproof,” which makes it a convenient piece of kit for adventure-type shooting. It features a 13-megapixel camera that shoots both stills and video up to 60 frames-per-second at 1080p. And it includes wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, so you can easily transfer your media from camera to computer.
It’s an unusual piece of kit for a company like Canon, which specializes in higher-end imaging equipment, rather than this type of “go anywhere” camera.
But the most unusual aspect of this new camera is the funding method:
The IVY REC is set to launch on Indiegogo.
Indiegogo is one of the most popular crowdfunding sites out there, and it generally aims to give start-ups a chance to make big products without spending lots of cash upfront.
On a website with “indie” in its name, a giant such as Canon seems rather out of place.
Which begs the question:
What is the point of this new method of funding? Canon undoubtedly has the money to push the IVY REC through to production.
One possibility is that Canon is testing the waters with this camera, and wishes to do so while spending as little money as possible. If Canon doesn’t know how the IVY REC will be received, perhaps it’s being crowdfunded in a referendum of sorts: If the camera gets funded, then it’s a good idea, one worth pursuing. And if the camera fails in its funding, then it shouldn’t have been produced in the first place.
Of course, this strategy goes beyond marketing research. If the IVY REC is successfully funded, Canon ends up with a bonus: a nice pot of cash with which to build and promote the product.
Another possibility is a bit more unsettling: Canon is using Indiegogo for free publicity, in an attempt to promote a camera that Canon would have otherwise been willing to spend its own dollars on.
Either way, I’m not entirely comfortable with this move by Canon. Sites like Indiegogo help solo entrepreneurs and small startups turn their dreams into reality. Canon’s presence on the site will likely take money away from those who genuinely need the cash.
But I’d like to hear your thoughts:
Why do you think Canon has turned to crowdfunding for this camera? How do you feel about this strategy?
Also, would you fund (or buy) the IVY REC?
Let me know in the comments!