Stock Photos: Seeing Double

You’re not crazy. You are seeing the same people over and over again in advertisements, according to this article in The Wall Street Journal. Why? Because it’s a lot easier to use stock photos of people than to go out and take pictures.

When I worked for AARP, we only had a couple of CDs worth of stock photos of active seniors. We used those people again and again on the web site. No women in walkers for us, no, these were tan couples striding to the tennis court, rackets in hand. Or lithe men hanging off steep cliff faces. Or independent grandmothers on the vacation of a lifetime. We used them so much that I felt like I knew them.

Imagine my surprise when I began recognizing them in other places, like ads for health insurance and annuities. And why not? We didn’t own them, after all. They were just stock.

my dad
not stock…. a real active senior, my Dad

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