PetaPixel

Epic Self-Promotion: Photographer Has 400 Action Figures of Himself Made

Self-promotion is a tricky thing. We all know that marketing is probably more than half the battle when it comes to getting great clients (after all, no matter how good you are, they can’t hire you if they don’t know you exist) these days.

And now, as the photography market is becoming more and more saturated, the name of the game is “make an impression.” There are tens if not hundreds of photographers available pitching your client… how are you going to stand out?

We’ve seen fancy model car hard drives and flash drive, we’ve seen 35mm slide film business cards, but photographer Jens Lennartsson just took the cake (and did it with gusto): he created 400 ‘GI Jens’ action figures of himself to send out as promotional materials.

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Yep, photographer action figures that, we have a feeling, will make a very distinct impression on his clients. If they have 100 portfolios to look through to decide who gets to shoot the next big project, do you really think they’ll skip over the one that comes attached to an action figure? We think not.

Here’s a snippet from a blog post by Lennartsson in which he answers the question “why and action figure?”:

Well, first of all: why the hell not!? Many photographers spend a lot of cash to design the perfect portfolio, print it and send to the people they want to work for. Just to have it disappear among hundreds of similar mailings.

If you’ve ever been in touch with an art director, art buyer or owner of an ad agency, you’ll know that they have a zillion things to do and as many people to meet. Unless you make an epic impression, you’ll be forgotten. I needed more than a paper folder to stand out. Besides showing my work, the marketing piece we were going to produce had to be something that:

  1. People would like to keep on their desk
  2. The owner would like to show to others
  3. In a second would present what Jens Lennartsson Photography is all about: raw and natural lifestyle and travel photography, without too much gear and Photoshop.

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You can read all about the process of creating the action figure over on Lennartsson’s blog here. He basically outlines the steps necessary to do this all yourself.

For what it’s worth, though we’re sure at least a few people will see this as kitschy or tacky, the idea gets results. After all, we ARE talking about him aren’t we? And we have a feeling we won’t be the last photo blog to pick this story up.

(via ISO 1200)


Image credits: Photographs by Jens Lennartsson


 
 
  • harumph

    Great (and expensive) attention getter, but it sucks that there are typos on the packaging.

  • superduckz

    Yep… next thing you know teenagers will be holding hands and dancing to rock and roll! Then they might even start staying up past 10 O’clock! Oh the humanity. I blame Elvis! I blame Buddy Holly!

    Oh and yeah, that’s sarcasm and yeah… I’m over 50.

  • MattyC

    So much product waste. Why wouldn’t they have the manufacturer also make the packaging or just print labels on the existing box they came in at first. Such a waste of time, money, and materials. Go Green

  • harumph

    There’s absolutely no way to “go green” when you’re making plastic or vinyl toys. The wasted styrofoam and cardboard is the tip of the iceberg. The very process of casting and painting this stuff is completely toxic.

  • John Adkins

    If it helped him, more power to him, but I certainly couldn’t have done something like that. He’s much better looking than I am though. No one would want a fat, ugly action figure. ;)

  • http://www.bradtrent.com Brad Trent

    Oy Vey…you two can take the fun outta anything!!!

  • amonkeyinmypocket

    “No Flash”?? Good luck landing those commercial jobs…

  • http://www.ssrphotography.com/ Stephen S. Reardon

    Brad, Have enjoyed your work for many years…

  • harumph

    Well, as I wrote elsewhere, I think it’s a fun promotion. I love this kind of stuff. I have a friend who makes his living as a toymaker, and he’d be the first to tell you that there’s no sense in pretending that there’s anything “green” about it.

  • Genkakuzai

    Obviously did the trick, since we’re all here commenting about it.

  • SaveTheWorldGetTheGirl

    Uh, are we offering him work?

  • bumstom

    If this dude can afford 400 of these things, with nice packaging and all, I don’t think he’s having much trouble getting work. Maybe he’s a trust fund kid, or somehow independently wealthy, and getting photo work is just his hobby. Real struggling artists have to come up with way different approaches.

  • Genkakuzai

    Certain he’s getting more work than some random anonymous person on petapixel.

  • Stefano Druetta

    I recently redesigned my business card and put my bold face on it, and a few days ago I was joking about it with my girlfriend, and about having a BobbleHead of myself to send out as this guy did. now I’m glad I listened to her. this is WAY too egomaniac: I’ve seen better forms of uncommon self promotion that involved primarily the photographer’s professional and personal qualities, and made the man stand out the proper way. this just sadly yells «hey look at me, how brave I am to face the public humiliation». how can he even expect that the ones who will receive this “action” figure will keep it on their desk?
    the “no flash” stamp on the box: silly. and unprofessional.
    is he all over the internet? yeah, sure. but what’s the image drawn? how good and trustworthy is he looking? these are the question one should ask himself before judging this act positively.

  • SaveTheWorldGetTheGirl

    There’s literally no way of verifying that, but it’s a nice thought :)

  • Genkakuzai

    Nopes. Hard to verify anything when the person in question is bravely anonymous.

  • guest

    Well, I said to me , dont criticise before seeing his work, so I went to his website: Below average work for someone who promotes himself like this

  • SaveTheWorldGetTheGirl

    What does anonymity have to do with anything?

  • SaveTheWorldGetTheGirl

    Unfortunately true. Exciting package, mediocre product. He should’ve taken the money and invested it into a course on lighting…

  • harumph

    Addendum: I emailed my buddy about this and he said my estimate was probably high unless these are made from vinyl (then it’s low). He said that if these are resin, then they could have been done on the cheap for a little less than $15,000 from sculpt to packaging (but that this style of packaging probably pushed it over 15k). Hard to say without knowing if it was vinyl or resin. If these are vinyl/plastic, then the creation of the mold alone is crazy money. Resin, far less so. His guess was that these were resin.

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Thnx Ian! Glad you liked it! Some blood and sweat and tears behind it ;)

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Hello Radiancedeluxe! My goal was to get in touch with some interesting/epic/cool people to get some new projects going, and you know what? It’s been less than a month since we started sending them out and more and more EPIC people are getting in touch with me every day.

    I would spell that s-u-c-c-e-s-s.

    Happy hating! GI Jens

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    WHAT? Are there other photographers?!

    ;)

    Thnx dude!

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Marry me?

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Photographers? Yeah, easy to find, i know…. Especially now when everyone can afford a good camera and therefor start working as a photographer… This was just the last death throes. Im hanging my camera on the wall now….

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    There’s more good ideas to come up with! Hit me up on Facebook, I´d be happy to discuss ideas! ;)

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Yeah, Guest…. Read the article! (got you back there bro…)
    ;)

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    What did you think about the portfolio? :)

  • http://www.bradtrent.com Brad Trent

    Jens…you are obviously an egomaniac and should be shunned!

    I’m not worried about your sense of humor…you’re killin’ it!

  • Dave Getzschman

    The best traits I can imagine in a photographer are humility and curiosity. Narcissism squelches both. If I were an art director, this would go directly in the garbage and leave a lasting, negative impression.

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Actually, the color of the jacket is actually pretty close to the real deal… We just sent a badly color corrected image to the producer in the first place. The jacket of the prototype (the one that Andreas is handing over in a white and orange package) is not the right color as my jacket but as you can see when we are comparing it to the screen; it is the same color as the picture…

    Check the main picture of the blog post and you´ll see that it is almost the same color :)

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Photoshop, man. It´s all Photoshop.

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Thanks :) We´ll be selling a few action figures to fund a non-profit project pretty soon. Follow me on facebook and you´ll find all info you need :)

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    WHen i try to book a lunch with friends they are all like “nah, dont wanna see your face in a while….”

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Aaaaaw, didnt get the same toy as all the cool people? Don’t be sad bro. I´ll send you one if you like? :)

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Nooooooooo! Im not gonna go all Apple on the accessories!

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Haha, fuuuuuuuck! Apparently both me and all of my friends are really bad at english…

  • Sean McCann

    I really liked your idea and portfolio, I was referring to radiancedeluxe’s meagre offerings!
    BTW, I wonder if making your figurines would have been easier using 3D imaging and printing for the prototype? Would the manufacturer be able to make a mold from such a thing?

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    It is a very accurate model of me, yes..

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Dude, think about me! I have to spend every minute awake with that ass money! I can DEFINITELY imagine it. From now on i will never take the camera from my face. Thank you for making me realizing what an asshole i am. You are a good guy!

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    I tried that to, friend. But it didnt work out very well. So i tried this thing instead, where i made 400 action figures of myself, its on jenslennartsson dot com. I’m so glad, I did this! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – r2d2

  • RadDLX

    thanks for explaining yourself
    clearly you felt the need to

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    I would love to hear your sincere comments about my portfolio (in contrast to most of my other comments im serious now), every opinion matters!

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Lets not talk about that anymore. Ok? Lets just forget about it. Never happend. Im getting new proof readers…. :)

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    I´ve done pretty well this far actually… Did i miss something?

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    But according to his nickname kinda indicating that he is getting laid A LOT! Would love to be that guy….

  • RadDLX

    you are an anonymous coward.

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Before i answer this; is there a reason your nickname contains another name for “ass”?

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Lucky your girlfriend talked you out of it. I would’ve had to kill you otherwise. Thank her. I mean REEAAALLY thank her.

  • http://www.thezenphotographer.com/ Jens Lennartsson

    Weird. Seems like the art directors in Sweden are doing it in a different way. They liked it. But everyone knows that Swedes are idiots…