Advice to marketers: Never use the term consumer-generated photos

How’s this for ironic timing. As a joke I called an earlier post “I’ve just posted some user-generated content on Flickr” that linked to photos from strolling around Manhattan this afternoon. In Monday’s New York Times there’s a story about marketers’ realization of the value of having their brands photographed in Times Square. No kidding, the article includes the term “consumer-generated pictures.”


“As a result of the growing popularity of consumer-generated pictures, videos and e-mail messages on Internet sites like YouTube and Myspace, advertisers are getting consumers to essentially do their jobs for them.”

Consumer-generated pictures! If you’re a “marketer,” please be advised: only a complete dork would ever use the phrase “consumer-generated photo.” Here’s a better one for you: “photos taken by people.”

Photo: All over Manhattan today, I saw holiday shoppers taking time to engage in some consumer-generated picture taking.

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  • This reminded me of a funny experience. About five years ago I was designing a small magazine for a Las Vegas based athletic club. I met the editor (Brett) at starbucks (not quite Times Square) to go over a few things. Brett decided he wanted a new photo for his column and asked me to take his picture while sitting in starbucks. I took a couple shots (at least one with the flash turned on). Brett then went up to the counter to get another cup of latte whatever (I’m not a coffee drinker). The lady at the counter informed Brett that he couldn’t take photos inside the store. Brett (with an instant stroke of comedy) lifted up his camera and snapped a quick picture of this same counter lady. She wasn’t amused and if I remember correctly, we quickly left the store.


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