Sony were launching their new ᾳ6000, a compact camera that on paper outperforms most digital SLRs (DSLR).

The problem? Most people aren’t interested in the “on paper” technical specs; they buy on association. And in the camera category, DSLRs’ association with professional photographers means most people think DSLRs are better than non-DSLRs.

This association was our barrier but also our opportunity.


Provide undeniable proof that the ᾳ6000 could shoot like a DSLR in the hands of a professional…

…by getting complete amateurs armed with the ᾳ6000 to supply the sports photography for New Zealand’s leading newspaper – NZ Herald.

We called this idea “The Sideline Challenge”.


First we recruited 4 total amateurs using an in-banner game.

Then we gave these amateurs press passes and sent them to the sidelines of some of the biggest domestic sports events in NZ.

Their photos were streamed live into banners and an online gallery so NZ Herald’s editors could pick any worthy of being in the paper.

Then a special edition of the Sports section in the paper’s full circulation featured photos from our amateurs as genuine editorial. Each photo was positioned as usual alongside the story; the only sign they weren’t a professional shot was a break-out box referencing the name and occupation of the photographer. A final spread the following Friday told the full story and showcased the published pictures again.

This was a first-time blurring of the lines between advertising and editorial in newspapers. The published editorial photos were our adverts, and proved the ᾳ6000 was just as good as a DSLR. As a result Sony’s market share saw a significant increase.

 “This was a first for the New Zealand Herald in over 150 years of publishing – entrusting photographic coverage of leading sports events to amateurs.” Paul Lewis, Director Editorial Innovation, NZ Herald.