The Problem with Stock Art
One of our editors came in talking about something he saw on “The Today Show” yesterday -- a segment on how companies that use stock images in their ads often run into problems when another company purchases the same stock image to use in their ads. Consumers see the images and get confused. One example discussed on “The Today Show” was an image that was used for a bank and also in a Viagra ad.
For publishers, many of whom use tons of stock images, this can be a problem.
We know this from first-hand experience. Last year, we used a stock image of an executive in our Publishing Executive Conference & Expo event mailings, and in our entire advertising/promotional campaign for the conference. The executive in the image was one of the “faces” representing our whole conference theme. While we made the image unique to our campaign by putting name badges all over the man’s suit jacket (which tied into our overall theme), we never expected that very image to show up somewhere else.
As it turned out, some company used that very same image of the executive in an ad that ran in The New York Times, the VERY DAY of our conference, which was held in New York City. Fortunately, we saw no truly negative effects from it, and in fact, judging by the number of people who brought it to our attention, we realized that our marketing efforts had obviously been memorable ... or maybe some people just never forget a face!
We are really hoping something like this doesn’t happen this year, since the stock image we chose for this year’s Publishing Executive Conference campaign is pretty recognizable. (If you go to www.PubXpo.com, you’ll see the guy with his hands over his eyes in our “Publisher Discretion Advised” box, and you’ll see what I mean.)
In the meantime, it seemed sort of timely for us to explore if/how publishers can avoid this situation ... so in next week’s Publishing Executive Inbox e-newsletter, we’ll explore this topic. And, as happens so often with this magazine, I’ll be an anxious reader as well as the editor.