Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Who's the Genius Who Concepted this?

I see, to a degree, that you're multiplying "one" employee, and thus, it makes sense that it's a photoshop job on this one, composting multiple images of the same subject. But I have to ask - who styles these ads!

Everyone that I asked about this came away with the quizical "what were they thinking?" question on their minds!

Gizmodo did a piece on it, (you can see the full ad here) and now, apparently, a Vice President has been sent out to be the recipient of slings and arrows. Her statement on the subject:

Intel's intent of our ad titled "Multiply Computing Performance and Maximize the Power of Your Employees" was to convey the performance capabilities of our processors through the visual metaphor of a sprinter. We have used the visual of sprinters in the past successfully.

Unfortunately, our execution did not deliver our intended message and in fact proved to be insensitive and insulting. Upon recognizing this, we attempted to pull the ad from all publications but, unfortunately, we failed on one last media placement.

We are sorry and are working hard to make sure this doesn't happen again.

~ Nancy Bhagat Vice President, Director of Integrated Marketing
While I find it hard to believe that, AFTER the media placements had been sent out, they failed to catch only one. This could have been done better if the employees had been older white men, and the "boss" the same race, hispanic. There were other ways to execute this than the way it was.

As the photographer on the campaign, it would be your responsibility to obtain client approval on the final image before calling a wrap. Further, when you're involved in the casting, you should be sensitive to these issues - you are a part of a team concepting and dealing with the details on an ad. In the end, however, if the assignment was, say, $10,000 to produce for all your fees and expenses, and you seperately had a line item for two dozen insertions in various trade magazines over the course of a year, that rights package could be worth another $20,000 in licensing fees. However, if the client kills the campaign, unless your paperwork is written correctly, you may loose almost all of that additional revenue. Further, at that ad agency, you'll get little or no more work because you'll likely be known as the photographer that produced an ad that was critisized as being insensitive at best, and racist at worst, so you'll loose additional assignments from that firm down the road.
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

12 comments:

Robert said...

I shot a very successful ad campaign for a liquor company in the early 90's. The consumer base for this particular brand of spirits, as I was told by the AE, is 80% african-american.

The ad agency and myself were in NYC. At that time, billboards/transit ads in Harlem and the Bronx that featured light skinned african-americans were being defaced by members of those communities. The persons de-facing the ads, felt that current advertising didn't properly represent the people actually purchasing the advertised products.

Being sensitive to this, the ad agency and myself purposely set out to cast darker skinned african-americans. We decided not to put straight hair wigs on the female models as was commonly done at the time, and we also cast men that had actually had hair! At this time, Michael Jordan was the top celebrity ad spokesman.

Our casting sessions were a hit with the ad execs, myself, the models and their agencies. We were all patting ourselves on our backs because we were going to "correctly" represent the communities that the ads were actually targeting.

As the layouts got tighten up and the production moved to within a week of principle photography, the word came down from on high. The liquor company execs gave our model picks the big thumbs down. They asked us to re-cast with light skinned african-americans, straighten the hair of the female models and give the male models very conservative hair cuts.

Ikeaphile said...

While I see the problem with this, I still think its hilarious, and I am talking about the non-PC aspect (and that doesn't make me racist).

Anonymous said...

I've done many shoots that I thought may be non-PC , but since I wasn't getting photo credit and the client was standing right next to me; I shot what they wanted, how they wanted.

My responsibility ends when my crew does their jobs, and I shoot what the client is paying me for. With the current business climate the way it is; I'm not going to rock the boat. In the old days I may have spoke up and mentioned something to the client; but with the slashing of budgets and clients more frugal and demanding, I'm giving them "options" and "variations" on their theme.

In the end it's their money.

Bruce said...

"Anonymous said...

I've done many shoots that I thought may be non-PC , but since I wasn't getting photo credit and the client was standing right next to me; I shot what they wanted, how they wanted.

My responsibility ends when my crew does their jobs, and I shoot what the client is paying me for. With the current business climate the way it is; I'm not going to rock the boat. In the old days I may have spoke up and mentioned something to the client; but with the slashing of budgets and clients more frugal and demanding, I'm giving them "options" and "variations" on their theme.

In the end it's their money."

Coward. How can you live with yourself?

Keith said...

Why did they leave out the prayer mats?

Anonymous said...

Bruce said...

Coward. How can you live with yourself?



Bruce

I am a Commercial Photographer, not an activist. I take pictures for a living. I work for clients that take their business very seriously, and hire me to do specific work for them. I’m not involved with their creative process in anyway, they do that internally. My clients are agencies that spend huge amounts of money to do all of the research; if they make a mistake as to the look and feel of a campaign that all I did was photograph; why are you trying to make me feel that I need to take responsibility? The client calls me, we agree or disagree to terms; and the job gets booked or I walk away. The End. My clients don’t tell me in advance what their concept is, they tell me how they want the session to look, send over some comps, then ask if my crew and I can make the picture happen.

Have a nice day.

Christopher Lawson said...

Anonymous said...
Bruce said...

My though was, don't you feel that if everyone else "missed" the problem or issue with a shoot, that it is in your clients' best interest to at least bring it up?

You initial post came across as being afraid to speak up and say what you saw. In my experience, clients appreciate the honesty and looking out for their interests. If they still decide to go ahead and proceed with the project, you can honestly say that you gave the client an opportunity to understand another possible response or viewpoint to an image. Just think, if someone had spoken up, they would have helped a client save face and still gotten your creative fee.

Different approach to life - every one has their own set of rules to what they think is right.

William Blake said...

Interesting comments and perspectives here.

Personally, I think it is important to mention possible issues with a comp or if on location. Clients are paying you for your production ability, craft, creativity and hopefully, your intelligence. However, the other side of the coin is, you are hired to produce a concept. I understand that perspective.

I can see all sides of the discussion on what you should or should not do when this type of shoot is presented. A lot of what you should or should not do would come down to your own racial perspective. (I am Anglo and Native-American.) At first, I did not see the problem with the shot, but after reading the text and seeing it in a fresh perspective, I realized what the problem was.

Not a very well though out image or concept.

Rob said...

In the meantime whatever happened to the English language? "Concepted"?.

Conceived, surely?

too tired to argue said...

Rob said " (read comment above) "

From the Apple Computer OS X dictionary.

(See below0


concept |ˈkänˌsept| noun an abstract idea; a general notion : structuralism is a difficult concept | the concept of justice. See note at idea . • a plan or intention; a conception : the center has kept firmly to its original concept. • an idea or invention to help sell or publicize a commodity : a new concept in corporate hospitality. • Philosophy an idea or mental picture of a group or class of objects formed by combining all their aspects. • [as adj. ] (of a car or other vehicle) produced as an experimental model to test the viability of new design features. ORIGIN mid 16th cent.(in the sense [thought, frame of mind, imagination] ): from Latin conceptum ‘something conceived,’ from concept- ‘conceived,’ from concipere (see conceive ).

conceive |kənˈsēv| verb [ trans. ] (often be conceived) 1 become pregnant with (a child) : she was conceived when her father was 49. • [ intrans. ] (of a woman) become pregnant : five months ago Wendy conceived. 2 form or devise (a plan or idea) in the mind : the dam project was originally conceived in 1977 | [as adj. ]


( conceived) a brilliantly conceived and executed robbery. • form a mental representation of; imagine : without society an individual cannot be conceived as having rights | [ intrans. ] we could not conceive of such things happening to us. • become affected by (a feeling) : he conceived a passion for football. ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French concevoir, from Latin concipere, from com- ‘together’ + capere ‘take.’

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