Saturday, August 29, 2009

Selective Diversity in Advertising

I'm thinking that if you're a company that markets its product to just about every conceivable demographic that there is, what say you either increase your advertising budget so that you can create custom ads tailored to each particular group or that you just hire people who can use Photoshop in such a way that your end result doesn't look like you used Photoshop. Either way, whatever you do, don't airbrush out the black guy and Photoshop in a white guy. (BONUS TIP: Don't use your competitors products in your ads as if they are your products. Realllllllly awkward.)

Here's the scoop: Microsoft ran a photo ad for Microsoft's business productivity software on their website. The photo shows three people in some sort of business meeting. There's an Asian guy, a black guy and a white woman. All three appear to be just giddy with interest at whatever the woman is doing there with her little remote thing. I'm guessing she's not looking for a ball game, which is unfortunate. (Nothing makes the work day go by faster like watching some ball.) Behold!

Now, if you just glance at the photo, I doubt anything in particular is going to jump out at you. But if you look at it for a minute, you might notice that something just doesn't seem right. There's something amiss(and it's not the chick). For instance, the guy in the middle, why does he have a big ol' jack-o'lantern head there? It's way too big for that body that it's on. And the guy on the end? Where's the rest of his hand?!

I also can't figure out why everyone only has one hand above the table and the other hand below the table (God sees everything!), but maybe it's just some weird policy HR implemented. I really don't know. But we'll get back to the oddities in a minute. Before we do that, we're going to take a stroll over to the Polish version of the same Microsoft site which is advertising the same product with the same photo. Er, uh,'s almost the same photo. They had to change few things, starting with Pumpkin Gourd there in the middle. Behold!

Oh. Well. That' Sooooooo....they really needed a white guy, eh? What gives? No one is really quite sure, but the general consensus seems to be that it was not racism. Thank God that Al Sharpton is all tied up with exploiting Michael Jackson's death to get involved in this one. If Jacko hadn't been using some sort of an equivalent to an elephant tranquilizer to get to sleep permanently, we could very well have been subjected to the Reverend Al and his Long, Long List of Things Racist White People Do INCLUDING Photoshopping out all black tech workers in Poland! But the take from folks in Poland was that there are very few black people in Poland and Microsoft was probably trying to create an ad that reflected the culture over there. And fair enough. But couldn't they have found a competent photo editor to recreate that culture?

The ad has so many things wrong with it, it's really hard to know where to start. Even though the black guy became much whiter (and a considerable amount younger as well), all of him didn't become whiter, as his hand is still that of the black guy. Behold!

Seriously, how do you miss something like that if you're the one doing the editing? Wouldn't it have just been easier to get another stock photo and make two different ads? I'm thinking it would have, but what do I know? I've always been white. Kind of like that computer. I don't recall Microsoft based computer products coming with that nifty white finish that the laptop in the photo is sporting. No, the only laptops that I recall seeing come in white were.....oh. Macs. Again....awk-ward.

They sure didn't try very hard to cover up that it's a Mac in the photo. Why would they do that? Was it someone's last day? Was there a surge in the hiring of the mentally handicapped? Free food in the lunchroom? I don't get it. You're advertising Microsoft products and you're displaying a Mac. Nice job, Mac-hole! Too bad someone couldn't have explained that concept to said awful, hopefully now unemployed, Photoshop guy. Perhaps at the same time they could have explained that you need to have your peripherals plug INTO something!

Why does the woman's keyboard have a cord that goes to absolutely nothing? Why do the legs of the man (in whichever color) in the middle not seem to line up with where his body is? The woman's left eye (so the one on your right) seems awfully dilated; is she having a stroke? She might be as the front of her jacket there is awfully dark in that one area. Perhaps a stronger anti-perspirant might have been a better choice that morning? (Or maybe just an employee who knows how to use Photoshop.) The whole bloody thing is just a freakin' mess. But it's not like this is the first time that a company's ad was horribly edited. There have been others. Hoo-boy have there been.

Then there was another Microsoft ad, this one for Office. The picture they're using is like some sort of M.C. Escher inspired track runner. Where does he start? Where does he end? Where is the never ending staircase on his head?

Take this gem from both ASUS and MSI who, apparently, both decided to use the same stock photo for their ad. MSI, however, decided to enhance theirs just a bit. I'm guessing because they have a huge client base of elves.

There was this ad for the Lexar Professional 8GB. It was the step up from the 4GB. Unfortunately, the Photoshop job didn't take that same step up. (Note to self: Always check the shadows.)

But I think that my favorite is probably this ad for a computer desk. Thanks for PC World for highlighting this bit of amusement for me. Judging from the size of the monitor and the style of the clothing (not to mention the Bowl Extreme haircut on the blond chap there), I'm guessing we're looking at a preview of the first budding Internet porn addict.

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1 comment:

grannyann said...

sorry it's been awhile since I posted. I have really been busy and hardly have time to check blogs. Although I am retired I do computer work for my son and his websites plus I am a granny taxi. Hope you have a great weekend.