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The Neoliberal Absurdity and Stock Photography

Stock imagery is a concept that has been entrenched in digital marketing and advertising in recent years. As businesses use internet presences to reach a bigger global audience, the need for higher-quality marketing materials has risen, as has the sector that delivers such content.

To grasp the significance of stock photography in digital marketing and advertising, it's necessary first to comprehend what it is, how it works, how it has influenced businesses, and how it will continue to do so in the future.

Marketing and advertising have benefitted from another area of innovation aimed at encouraging efficiency and cost reduction. These technologies s are called turnkey solutions. Turnkey solutions are described as a form of technology created from the ground up for a client and can be readily integrated into an existing business process. In other words, a corporate buyer only has to "turn" a "key" to start doing business in the freshly constructed structure.

Stock imagery is the use of copyright-free visuals which graphic designers, web developers and marketers use to create a variety of marketing collaterals with just the click of a mouse. Stock imaging sites provide photos for all occasions, including entertainment, advertising, publishing and video production. Stock imagery is photos, graphics, and icons generated without a specific purpose in mind. They are then licensed to people or organisations for use in marketing materials, websites, packaging, book covers, and other applications, generally for a charge. Popular stock imaging sites include Unsplash, Shutterstock, Moose, Getty Images and Adobe Stock.

Stock imaging has both advantages and disadvantages; some benefits are that you can avoid licensing Issues related to copyright if you use sites that have creative commons regime. Stock images are great for saving time and money as some are free while others only incur a minimal licencing fee. They also save time in terms of lengthy photoshoots by having a variety of shots to choose from, depending on your needs. Stock pictures can enhance professional materials, which is essential to your branding and the look and feel of your company or brand. Finally, they are an excellent tool to improve your social media credibility.

Every day, thousands of posts are shared on social networking networks. The use of high-quality photographs in your material will help you stand out from the pack. There are many disadvantages; the pictures don't reveal a brand true identity and may appear too slick or artificial.

Because stock photographs might come off as generic, you may be limited in how unique your business image can be. The same may be said for designing your website and any online information that can be improved visually.

Before utilising stock photos for advertising, read the tiny print. Some photographs are only allowed to be used for journalistic purposes and not for marketing.

The Jamaican advertising sector has embraced this new practice wholeheartedly, with hilarious consequences. For some inextricable reason, the Jamaican advertising industry has fallen in love with one particular stock actor whom I have dubbed Norman. Actor Norman can be seen in many print, digital and outdoor advertising and television advertising over the last three years.

Norman is not only favoured by local businesses as more than a few overseas companies have utilised artificial intelligence to use Norman on their websites and digital marketing advertising. It seems Norman represents a safe and non-threatening face that would be amenable to wide demographics. The images and video footage of Norman are typical Madison Avenue stereotypical black caricatures. He's usually portrayed as the always smiling glasses-wearing non-confrontation oddball .

Norman’s actions on video footage and images give you the impression that he's the sort of person that you would want to hang out with. From a mainstream white-centric perspective, Norman appears to be an acceptable black friend. This is a troubling state of affairs as the advertisements have lost their effectiveness with the use of Norman and can be viewed as disregard of the perceptiveness of consumers. It is mind-boggling that clients have not caught on and have not tried to differentiate in a very competitive market.

The stereotype of black male (as seen in Norman) has the effect of minimizing their masculinity and presence. Why are Jamaican firms not demanding more from their advertising representatives, who have weakened the effectiveness of their messaging and brand value? The blatant overuse of this benign black character has been so notable that it has become a concern on social media. It's now just a matter of asking, where else is Norman?

It is clear that advertising messages with familiar faces have lost their power and people are focussing on the familiarity of the character instead of the message a phenomenon known as the the picture superiority effect. To reinforce my assertion, let’s turn to a survey conducted by the publication, the Marketing Experiments. A few years ago. They saw a 35 per cent boost in conversions when they replaced a generic stock image of a lady with a photo of the actual founder (with a caption mentioning him).

The Nielsen Norman Group backs up this information. Their eye-tracking investigations reveal that stock photographs are mainly disregarded compared to shots of genuine individuals, implying that modern humans have evolved a "sixth sense" for identifying stock from bespoke images. I wonder what a survey on the effectiveness of using Norman in so many advertising campaigns would reveal.

Neoliberal market forces have had a very negative effect on all aspects of our lives, including creating an unlimited supply of temporary workers for the gig economy, runaway inflation and cost-cutting that has had a debilitating impact on customer service and many firms' ability to deliver value. The pervasiveness of "Norman" in the advertising industry is a reflection of the country's neoliberal obsession with market forces and its inability to develop a stable economic climate in Jamaica that can produce consistent consumer value.


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