Olympus Senses a Marketing Opportunity in the Death of Bin Laden

John Hudson
September 26, 2012
Olympus Senses a Marketing Opportunity in the Death of Bin Laden

There's no question the death of Osama bin Laden was great for President Obama's poll numbers—could it also be great for a Japanese camera-maker? This week, a spokesman for Olympus speculated that the camera used to photograph Osama bin Laden's dead carcass was none other than an Olympus TOUGH series camera, an upscale point-and-shoot line that ranges between $179.99 and $399.00. Shameless Great marketing coup, right?

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If you're asking why this detail is coming out now, you can thank Matt Bissonnette, the former Navy SEAL who recently published a memoir No Easy Day about the mission to kill bin Laden. In the book, Bissonnette offers a vague description of the camera he used to capture bin Laden's face after he was shot:

"My camera, a digital Olympus point-and-shoot, was in my right shoulder pocket," Bissonnette wrote in his book. "Tossing the blanket away, I pulled out the camera that I'd used to shoot hundreds of pictures over the last few years and started snapping photos. We'd all gotten real good taking these kinds of photos. We'd been playing CSI Afghanistan for years."

From there, Dan Havlik, a photography enthusiast who writes on the camera blog Imaging Resource, got to thinking: Which specific Olympus camera was Bissonnette using? Reaching out to Olympus, a company spokesman speculated that it was a durable "Olympus TOUGH camera line," and added this gem of a response: 

“It’s always cool to be part of history and have our Olympus TOUGH cameras be amongst the tools that a hero like Mr. Owen used on that historic day," said Richard Sasserath, Olympus Imaging America's Technical Specialist. "It was these types of rugged environments that our engineers had in mind when Olympus first developed this class of camera almost a decade ago.”

You don't say? Engineered specifically for terror-killing spec op missions! Now that's a brand you can trust. They should really hire the guy who made these Duracell ads and make a thing of it:

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Navy SEALs put their lives on the line every day, and when they rely on a camera to complete their mission, SEALs everywhere trust Olympus. 

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