This particular corner of electric narcissism has been too quiet too long. Rather than bore all three of you with the many reasons why I’ll just get on with it.
A few weeks back Kodak made the tragic, inevitable announcement that they are to cease production of Kodachrome. This is the first, the oldest, and the most wonderful colour film on the planet because in one sense it is not colour at all. Three layers of black and white film simulate the primary colours and filter light accordingly. It will last for centuries without fading. In the very very complex and toxic processing (done in just one lab in the world), which is also ending next year, colour is added. It is just like the wonderful Technicolor process of old Hollywood which produces ‘better than life’ eye popping colour of a kind seen in Robin Hood et al.
Kodak had a point of course – it is expensive and complex to produce and is responsible for less than 1% of Kodak’s film sales. With the development of several new emulsions in the last few years, Kodak’s commitment to film photography looks strong for now. The film is 74 years old so one wonders why they could not wait just a year and end production on more of a high? 75th Anniversary collectors packs, maybe bring back 120 format and the lost ASA 25 and 200 versions for a limited time before saying goodbye?
That said, Kodak’s efforts were pretty impressive. They positioned the whole thing as a celebration, have made enough to satiate demand for a good while, and are letting it trickle out of the channel.
Too many iconic, tried and tested or just cult products are just dropped without notice, without fanfare and without consideration for those that rely on them. Cases like this are when marcomms should shout loudest – that product worth 1% of revenue might be a positive symbol that puts a halo on the rest and thus be worth keeping on life support. Or if it just has to go give it a proper send off like the old friend it is.