My first job out of design school was as the Marketing Services Assistant at Photo Corporation of Australia (PCA). It was actually a really great role for a newly graduated designer. I looked after the marketing needs of the PixiFoto brand which consisted of permanent studios, mobile studios, a schools division and a charity. The tasks were quite varied and they allowed me to work reasonably autonomously.
As it was a photography company I got a lot of Photoshop experience deep etching and retouching photos and a tonne of InDesign experience laying out all sorts of posters, brochures and marketing material. I also gained a huge amount of experience working with print suppliers.
The marketing calendar consisted of 6 “National Campaigns” per year. This was where we created newly themed material and shipped it to the 50+ studio locations Australia-wide. Each store received DL flyers and Posters.
In addition to the National Campaign materials they needed different printed resources for selling – such as lead pads and information flyers about the services. Once these items were designed and the artwork sent to the printers, the warehouse staff would continuously re-order them by the pallet until there was a reason to update the design.
As we were a Service Department we were like a business, inside a business. We were available for the studios to “hire” and they were able to request our design and print service for individual studio promotional items. This was one of the most fun parts of the job. The studios had a strict marketing budget and the jobs were often small runs. Our challenge was to take their ideas and create professional looking material in-house. Our tools – a temperamental photocopier, an old and dodgy guillotine that cut on a slight angle, an inkjet poster printer and an old industrial laminator.
Between the other designer and myself across all brands of the parent company we had around 96 studios to service. Our inboxes were overflowing with request forms each day. We absolutely loved what we did. We would turn the radio up and get down to business. Our goal was to continuously improve the quality of materials for the least amount of expense and deliver them in the fastest possible timeframe. The studios were always so excited to see their ideas come to life, it was such a pleasure working with them!
The most important piece of PixiFoto advertising was our insert in the Bounty Bags. These bags were at the time owned by ACP Magazines and were distributed through hospitals, directly into the hands of expecting and new parents. Through this promotion, Pixi were able to capture the first 24 months of baby’s life. These vouchers had a high redemption rate. They were printed on heavy card stock, with perforated vouchers and a magnet glued to the back so they could be kept on the fridge as a reminder.
In the last couple of years of my employment at PCA. we started to build a closer working relationship with Mother & Baby Magazine (ACP Magazines). This was one of the highlights of my career there. I was creating magazine advertisements and worked with the team at M&B to create a “Coverstars” competition, where a lucky bub would feature on the cover of their mag. I loved visiting their offices in the city and dreamed of one day making the switch over to the magazine industry.
One of my final projects before leaving Pixi in 2010 to have my first baby, was to help them launch their long awaited website! It may sound crazy (now!) but for years they didn’t do any digital marketing. In fact when I started at Pixi it was a completely analogue brand. They shot in film and had a massive onsite film development lab. I never really appreciated the lab at the time, but I can tell you now it was seriously cool and they did output really high quality prints.
I digress, the “roll out” to digital was incredibly slow. (Hello to any of my old PCA friends reading this, I know you’re all nodding in agreement, lol!). Like many marketer’s of the time, web was a completely uncharted territory for us. But we made it work and developed sites for all of the brands of PCA. (Not saying they were my best work… but progress is better than no progress and it was my first experience working with web developers and CMS).
So that is about it! I’ll leave you with a photo of the dream team circa 2009 and a gallery of designs from my time at Pixi.