How Stock Photos Really Represent Corporate Life

Back in the day (the day apparently being 2005), I started working as the Director of Marketing for a mortgage company. If it sounds really stimulating, you might be right. You might also be very, very wrong.

I was quickly schooled in the creation of marketing collateral which for things like FHA loans and first-time homebuyers can be very creatively challenging. Since all that stuff is federally regulated, you have to be careful about not only the words you use but also the photos you choose, specifically because of race, age, and gender. You’d never want to imply, for example, that a hispanic couple might need a no-documentation loan vs. a nice white couple.

Culturally diverse couples

On the other hand, you did want to be inclusive of all different types of families. These were actually some of the stock photos we used back then. Doesn’t it just make you want to go out and get a mortgage for the house of your dreams?

While searching for exactly the perfect photo, I came across some are you kidding me? photos. We laughed and even tried to incorporate them into marketing material as a joke. Unfortunately, the loan officer we were working with did not get the joke and loved it.

That was the last time I tried marketing humor on them.

I was reliving those unhappy marketing memories once I came across Adweek’s article on ridiculous corporate stock photos from the new movie Unfinished Business starring Vince Vaughan. I’d like to say they’re genius but I’m not sure if you’d agree. I’m not sure you’d find the humor in them. Maybe you would think they were fabulous just like that loan officer did.

So I’m going to put you to the test. You tell me what you think of the following real and staged stock photos and see if you get the joke.

The computer knows all

“Dammit, Leroy. I’m telling you, these computers are a fad. You’ll never have a career as a Data Processor. And you look terrible in pin stripes.”

Nothing left to chance - Business Strategy

“This bar graph makes absolutely no sense but in a corporate situation, we’ll always act like it indicates an increase in sales. Plus, I’m smiling.”

Very Important Discussion around a conference table

“I’m telling you, these paninis are out of this world. The real question is: should you get turkey or ham?”
“I’m sorry, Bob. I can’t stay for lunch. I have to go get my hair frosted.”

Successful applauding executives sitting at the table

“We’re all clapping for the COO because she just said something fabulous but I’m still pissed that she cut our funding for K-Cups in the break room.”

Business men throwing folders for no apparent reason

“Hey guys, let’s all throw our multi-colored folders for no apparent reason! Wait, Larry, are you drunk again?”

Business team enjoying victory

“Let’s see, we’ve got a man, a woman, an African-American, and an older woman who could pass for Latina. We’re good in the diversity department!”

Diverse business men randomly standing in a picture frame

“We’re the Marketing department. That’s why we do really clever things like stand with a picture frame in front of us. We’re creative. Don’t mock our brightly colored shirts.”

Business fulfills each and every one of them

“Because I’m a suave corporate guy in a suit. THAT’S why.”

So did you pick out the real corporate stock photos from those that are simply a movie promo? Yeah, Vince Vaughan might have given it away. But I hope at least you have some sympathy for what I had to work with. In 2005.

Next time you make fun of a marketing person, just remember they, too, might have had a limited budget with which to be creative.

A blogger and a father and a Jewish funeral

Sol Levinson chapel

There's a constant push and pull inside of me. There is knowing the inevitability of death and there is the denial of that reality. If we don't think about it or read about it or talk about it, then it's as if it's not really there. When Oren … [Continue reading]

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Overcoming Post-Vacation Anxiety

SOC Sunday 2015

For probably the 4th year in a row, we were able to plan a weeklong escape to Florida right when winter seemed to have us in its clutches. I know I'll be going back to it but I feel ready to face the inevitable end of winter. I cam practically hear … [Continue reading]

A Disney Vacation Round-Up

Evan meets Peter Pan

Even bloggers need a vacation and by the time you read this, I'll be most of the way through my weeklong Disney vacation. We usually go for a week every February for several reasons: The weather isn't blazing hot. The crowds are low (relatively … [Continue reading]

Zoom Zoom Zooming in the Mazda3

Mazda3 6 speed

The joy of loving cars is that I get asked to drive a lot of cars and I'm more than happy to oblige. But this latest request had me a little tickled. "Can you or your husband drive manual vehicles?  We’ve got a few in your area that are wide open … [Continue reading]

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Having a Cold, Cold Heart

SOC Sunday 2015

While my thoughts today were inspired by the unseasonably frigid temperatures, I'm actually in a much warmer climate on vacation. It's made me realize how easy it is to forget your every day reality when you escape from it. And for me, especially … [Continue reading]

The Academy Award Winners (based on trailers)

Hollywood Star - Fadra Nally

Thanks to my role in the Fandango Family, I've seen more movies this year than I have in eight years! (Related: my son just turned eight years old.) But I'm still pretty far behind. As a theater student who always had dreams of becoming a movie … [Continue reading]

Are you psychically skeptical? This might change your mind.

Spirituality quote

  What happens when you take a little girl and send her to a Lutheran Sunday School, put her in a Methodist children's choir, and then take her to churches full of autoharps and holy rollers? Well, just read my blog and you'll find … [Continue reading]

The Fastest Italian-Polish Meal I’ve Ever Made

Johnsonville® Italian Sausage #MeatballMasters

I made a delicious and easy dinner using Johnsonville® as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars. On a typical night in my household, my husband might ask me: "What's for dinner?" Seem fairly innocuous, right? Then why do I react like … [Continue reading]

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Losing My Blogging Mojo

SOC Sunday 2015

This week felt like my first real brain dump. It's been hard to let go of my writing. A lot harder than when I used to do this. So I'm thinking maybe this exercise is a good one for me. When I wrote this entry, I started in one direction and felt … [Continue reading]

It’s Getting Hot in Here: Unexpectedly Romantic Movies on Netflix

Romantic Movies on Netflix

The great thing about your kid getting older is the ability to finally watch something in the evening that isn't animated and is rated higher than G. With Evan having just turned 8, we usually stick to PG or sometime PG-13 movies but it depends on … [Continue reading]