Canon at Photokina 2018

Canon at Photokina 2018

Awards: Best Storytelling  – DIAMOND

Agency: 2LK Design

Client: CANON Europe

Event Name: Photokina 2018

Agency Website:



The Brief:  

Taking place at Koelnmesse International Trade Fair and Exhibition Centre in Cologne, Germany, Photokina is the world’s leading consumer event for the photographic, imaging and video industries. It attracts over 150,000 attendees from 134 countries.

Photography is a fiercely tribal market sector. Users tend to be aligned to a single brand, and typically invest long and hard in accumulating that brand’s kit. The prosumers that attend Photokina en masse are very knowledgeable. They have firm, preconceived opinions and a very specific agenda. They’re on a quest for niche technical detail and access to qualified professionals. A tough crowd to please.

The EOS R System was Canon’s most important product announcement in thirty years, setting new standards for the future of photography. Photokina 2018 would be the first public showcase of that technology – a critical moment in the brand’s history which demanded an exceptional visitor experience and extended reach beyond the immediate attendees.

Canon is dedicated to inspiring and enabling visual storytellers to tell the greatest stories – a positioning shift from ‘hardware manufacturer’ to ‘experience enabler’. Live events – and especially Photokina – offer a unique opportunity to embody this spirit.

Above all, the goal of Canon’s 2,600sqm Photokina experience was to drive audience engagement with Canon’s ‘Live for the Story’ positioning and its latest products, especially the new and innovative EOS R System. Not just a high volume of hands-on product trials, but a deeper emotional connection with the brand through inspiration, exploration and education.

Success would be measured through visitor numbers, product trial metrics, average dwell time statistics, media reach and qualitative audience feedback.


The Solution:

Research indicates that prosumers are heavily influenced to purchase by the activities and achievements of professional photographers. The overarching strategy was to drive alignment with the brand by showcasing the inspirational imagery, powerful personalities and moving stories of Canon’s ambassadors. These icons and idols became the beating heart of the experience, integrated within the physical design, the digital content and the human engagement.

The experience was designed to celebrate storytelling through the entirety of a photographer’s journey, from image creation through to curation – all enabled by Canon’s diverse line-up of imaging products and solutions, with special focus on the EOS R System.

The space was split into three key experiential themes: Exploration, Inspiration and Education. Each seamlessly blended into the other, ensuring visitors were constantly immersed in unexpected, hands-on photographic experiences and surrounded by inspirational stories of creativity.

This was an incredible showcase for the idea that Canon inspires and enables imaging enthusiasts – sharing stories about the latest innovations, technologies, products and services in a way that offers people unique opportunities for idea exchange, connections, discussions and active participation.



Striking and immersive core zones included:

EOS R System
Acting as a huge beacon, the incredibly emotive Air Fountain installation by Brooklyn-based artist Daniel Wurtzel had silk flying in perpetual organic motion alongside live dancers from the Birmingham Royal Ballet. This was the perfect setting for visitors to test the EOS R System benefits – in a way that was both memorable and shareable.

Gallery Towers
To reveal a deeper understanding of life behind the lens, 10 enormous showcase towers featured the personal artefacts of 10 Canon Ambassadors, alongside large digital screens with dynamic content that brought their imagery to life.

Spotlight Stage
Over four days, 45 Canon Ambassadors told moving and inspirational stories behind their most striking imagery, and talked through their recent personal experiences working with the new EOS R System.

To encourage visitor attention, participation, retention and return, this area constantly changed throughout the event. Enthusiasts tried out Canon’s full product line-up in immersive ‘real life’ shooting scenarios. For example, an 8m long ‘succulent terrarium’ and a moving floral sculpture created live on site by renowned florist Robert Hornsby.

Grand Gallery
This 50m long enclosed walkway was an independently curated photographic exhibition shot with the latest EOS R System. Supported by guided tours and paired with live print demonstrations, it celebrated the ‘how and wow’ of Canon’s printer innovations. Capabilities were showcased along one side and an incredible image gallery was on the other.

Press Centre
A dedicated press centre – with its elevated position and sweeping views across the stand –encouraged and facilitated media reach and hosted dedicated Canon interviews.


The Result:

The overall experience was rich with human engagement and personality – the stand’s focus on storytelling led to some extraordinary results.