Say something about the photography please

We’ve just read an article about Habitat’s new ad campaign in the creative press. I don’t know if you’ve seen their new ads yet, but basically they are product images plus typography. The campaign is called ‘Say Something’ and each product is accompanied by those same words, hand-drawn in a typographical style that references each product’s styling detail.

The story centred on the typographical aspect of the new work, and whilst we could appreciate that the typography was of interest and newsworthy, it struck us that we NEVER see any coverage in the advertising, creative or marketing press that makes any detailed reference to the photographic styles that big brands are using. We were surprised that the photography, the bit that shows the customer the product Habitat want us to buy, took such a back seat compared to the other creative elements that went into making up the adverts.

Why is this?

The irony is that the success of Habitat’s campaign, and the sales it is trying to drive with it, will be equally affected by how well the product is represented visually. The heart of Habitat’s proposition was always the design detail of its product range, and it has to be said, whilst we’d rather put a positive spin on photography, there are a number of ads for this campaign which really don’t show the product in the best light. The most obvious example of this is an ad for a sofa, which is taken at an unflattering angle and shows very wrinkled fabric very clearly, with an overall effect that makes it look more like a £199 sofa you might pick up on a market, not something from Habitat – the aspirational, design-led furniture retailer who has got a lot of hard work to do to remind the general public that they still exist.

Any brand that is selling anything needs to use images of its product. I don’t know what percentage of advertising campaigns use a photographic image rather than a graphic image, but it must be at least 50:50. So when brands are press-releasing their new campaigns and their new work, why is there so seldom any mention of the photographic strategy that they have used and the importance of those images and how they contribute to the success of any advertising and marketing campaigns?

So, what could the reasons be that commercial photography gets so few column inches in the business, advertising and marketing press (apologies for the tongue in cheek answers – just trying to make a point):

  • No-one’s interested in photography?
  • There’s little appreciation or understanding of photography by the readership of the titles in these sectors?
  • The PR agencies that are sending these stories aren’t giving the media any details about the photography because they’ve not been given any by their sources?
  • Photography doesn’t have any bearing on how well any advertising or marketing creative works?
  • There is too much ‘mystery’ around the creative process behind photography, so everyone forgets there is one and so no-one talks about it?

There are many professional and amatuer photography magazines, websites, blogs and forums with high readerships and participation, so we know there is massive interest in photography. Which makes it even more perplexing that there’s virtually no crossover of news about commercial photography and it’s role in business.

We’d love to hear your opinions on this, and we’ll publish a selection of them in future blogs.

To see the Habitat images yourself; click on this link here but please come back and tell us what you think.

Don’t forget, Eposure is now free to join so if you are a professional commercial photographer then why not sign up? For more information please visit the membership page on the site.

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