We’re beyond thrilled to see that somebody has stepped up (or “leaned-in”) to change the way that women are presented in the “stock” photos used in so much of today’s marketing and advertising. We always prefer to do our own original photography for clients, but sometimes stock photos are a necessity. And today, advertising has taken a giant leap forward!
Traditionally, many clients seeking marketing and advertising look to save money on a project by accessing photo libraries consisting of “stock” photography — as an alternative to having their agency develop a custom photo-shoot. This is especially prevalent in digital and print marketing and advertising, where projects are put together quickly, and clients need/want an image that meets very general criteria — “business,” or “social media,” for instance.
For a very low price, one can access large libraries of photos and search hundreds of images by keyword and category. Of course, the agencies who produce these large libraries of images cast models as their subjects. As a result, virtually all of the images available show “model” subjects engaging in business acitivities — Barbie and Ken doll subjects holding smart phones, tablet computers, doing this and that. Take a look at the typical representation of a business female in the image above.
She doesn’t really reflect the world we live in, or do business in, does she?. The consumers most businesses are trying to reach — whether business-to-business clients, large enterprise clients, direct to consumer clients — aren’t Ken and Barbie dolls. So, why should we be showing them these images? Rule number one in advertising (at least in our book) is to “speak” to the target consumer. We want them to relate to the message we’re trying to convey. Now, take a look at a sample from the new Lean In Collection — that’s more like it.
KickStartup Marketing always tries to avoid stock photography in the first place. Usually, it’s obviously “stock,” and can tell the consumer that not a lot of thought was put into the attempt to reach them. It’s also usually not terribly high quality. We do work that is custom, and premium — not cookie-cutter, pre-fab, or “stock.” So we applaud Getty Images and LeanIN.org for recognizing this issue and working together to make a change.