Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Deja Vu? Same Photo, Different Ads! This Is 'Today' On NBC

Those of you lucky enough to be watching television this morning, particularly those who tuned-in "Today" on NBC... even more so those that weren't brushing teeth or making coffee or in the shower at 7:18 AM... those who were paying attention saw a segment on stock photography. And if you're like me, you got to see your pet peeve spotlighted on network television.

We all remember the Dell and Gateway computer ads that featured the same female college student in "back to school" ads for the respective companies a while back. Two photos from the same shoot, sourced from PhotoDisc, running at the same time in the same media. Embarassing, for sure, and it makes you wonder about those whose only consideration is that they get their photography on the cheap.

I know I've had a few words to say on this subject in the past, but who listens to me when I rail against (so-called) Royatly Free stock photos? Now everyone's getting into the act, especially NBC News correspondent Lisa Daniels, who interviewed Jon Klein, CEO of Getty Images. In today's segment she showed examples of particular RF stock imagery being used by competitors at the same time.

Kudos to Ms. Daniels for reaching the obvious conclusion: that it's worth spending the money to hire a photographer to custom-shoot your advertising photos. Bravo! 'nuff said.


Anonymous Rich Green said...

I never understood why a company with extremely deep pockets like Dell would want to spend their advertising budget at the dollar store. It never made any sense to me.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Joe P. said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Joe P. said...

I understand completely, and the reason is called "shareholders." Every public company has two goals: dominate the market and return value to shareholders.

Dominate the market through cost-cutting, offering the product or service for the least expensive price (lock-out the competition) and gaining market share. Increase profits through increased volume, pay highest possible dividends to shareholders.

Cost-cutting is accomplished by paying the lowest wages, reducing benefits (to the least they can get away with) and, also, cutting advertising expenses. Ad agencies have trended toward a fee-for-service structure as large corporations have fired on their previous business model of taking a commission on insertions and placement. They, in return, squeeze their suppliers (guys like us), After all, they're part of publicly traded big media companies themselves with the same basic goals as their clientele.

And, as Mr. Klein so astutely observed, competing clients often want the same kind of imagery at the same time. Being cost-concious they turn toward Royalty Free stock rather than the more expensive Rights Managed stock or the even more expensive High-End Assignment Photography.

Has advertising suffered? You bet! Will they wise-up? Time will tell.

Personally, I think you have a better chance of hitting the lottery!!! ;-)

Joe P.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Rich Green said...

I understand your point and agree, however - Walmart has 1 million plus employees - wages and benefits (and sales to customers) will obviously affect the bottom line and shareholder dividends. With advertising (I don't have your experience, so if I sound stupid don't kill me) there is tv and print (and now web). While shooting a tv commercial is expensive, doesn't the lion's share of the budget go to placement (and constant repetition) on the tube. I would think the same situation applies to print - hiring the photographer (and his assistants) isn't cheap, but the same lion's share is being spent on placement (and constant repetition). A company like Dell is worth "Billions". At the end of the day, what will it cost for original photography - $1million? (I don't have a clue, so obviously I'm just picking a number.) How much will that break down to for increased shareholder dividends - $5? (I know this is all academic......)

11:12 AM  
Blogger Joe P. said...

To answer your question Rich, I think the actual amount of money it would have cost Dell... or Gateway... to have comparable original photography created for the ad would have been in the range of $12,000 to $18,000, depending on who's shooting. The RF cost was about $300.

Are you still wondering why you don't work as much as you used to?

Joe P.

4:44 PM  

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