We are drowning in a sea of stock photos. A tsunami of smiling gray-haired dads and sprinting business executives and pensive hipsters and buoyant moms and kids with balloons. And while there are many experts and savants and pundits who would point to the rise of the Internet or video games or MBA’s as the cause of the immense boredom and suckitude (to use a scientific term) that cloaks all advertising these days, I believe the cause is much simpler. Stock.
It is just too damn easy to make ads that look good, look acceptible, look like real ads — for presentation, to run — by using stock photographs you pay for, or even worse, ones you swipe. Why is this so bad?
Well, it’s like eating pre-digested food. That’s bad, right? It’s like going to a restaurant and them saying to you, “you can order anything you want, as long as half of it contains hot dogs and beans.” It’s like Shakespeare attacking a new play and someone saying to him, it has to feature circus clowns, stock car racing, and a big scene involving a marching band.
The bad thing about stock is that you come to the “making things up” table with one (or two, or three, or seven…) hands tied behind your back. No matter how pretty and slick things look, YOU JUST CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING NEW.
And what does that lead to? Yawnnnnnnn….
Luckily, there is a remedy for this. And I didn’t think of it. A caveman (or woman) did. Draw pictures. Make up pictures. Scribble stuff. You don’t even have to be able to draw that well — stick figures can do it. In fact, I’d prefer stick figures to another shot of a happy pharmacist with just the right tint of gray in his hair and half-glasses serving up…
Well, you get it.
So leave stock to the brokers, and start scribbling already!