January 08, 2006

Curious George: Wacky Stocks. A stock photo used by The Nation of Islam's Final Call online also appeared in an advert for the American Humanist Association. I'm interested to know if this is a unique phenomenon.

Insofar as these shots are hosted on my site, some might see this as self-linking. (shrug) If so, please remove.

  • I know that there have been several times where Microsoft ads have featured people using mac laptops. I've also noticed other pictures appearing on different sites. One I remember that seemed to be everywhere was of two women sitting in beanbags using laptops.
  • Because of the relative cheapness of stock photo cds, it's really common for publishers/agencies to rely on them for pretty much everything. A disk of 100 images in a certain theme could be had for $300 easily, and are usable pretty much without restriction or further licensing once purchased. Attractive woman standing would be an easy find on there. Back in my Art Director days we'd constantly be re-using the same images, just trying to keep them out of the same magazine titles. But even then, the publications were aimed at college students so we figured we could repeat every five years or so. The bachelor candidates still there in their sixth year were probably too dim to notice the repeats. And since anyone can buy these disks, everybody is using them. I'm constantly seeing stock art everywhere, often the same ones I used back in the day.
  • ...and Microsoft using PowerBooks in their ads is just a rip-roarin' hoot. I have to suspect there's a cheeky designer somewhere risking their job and laughing while the good times last.
  • bear in mind that microsoft has produced a lot of software for the mac over the years.
  • Best personal experience: I had a job reviewing content for educational software. One photo showed a man leaning over a table saw, with about 2-3 inches of ass crack showing. I reported it as a defect. The people involved in making the title were horribly embarrassed, since they'd not only picked it originally but looked at it on a regular basis through 2 years of releases! They must have been consoled by the fact that at least 3 other places used the same photo (ass crack and all)--one in the Yellow Pages and two from advertisements. Once spotted, ass crack man was everywhere. A few years ago there was a website that tracked an actrees through her stock photography in its various uses (and reuses), developing a narrative to explain the various plot twists. I think the model even wrote in to the site.
  • I'm sure I've seen some site somewhere that compiles this kind of stuff, specifically the same picture being used for competing products.
  • roryk: Microsoft does make Mac products, a couple anyways. Office, Messenger, Virtual PC and that's about it. But, they sure don't make .NET for the Mac yet used a PowerBook for advertising it.
  • This is a pretty funny story about reuse of stock photos.
  • That was good InfraMonkey. You'd think with all the work Alicia's getting she could afford a new top.
  • There is a bellydancer that I know that has a stock photo at one of the services. The same photo has been showing up on ebay ads, on products, has been modified to look Hindu and a bunch of other stuff. She's pretty popular so the picture is become the face of bellydance for somestuff. But what's funny is it's the same picture. She doesn't always know the next place it will show up.
  • I read this as wacky socks. I was disappointed.
  • And of course I meant THIS /fool