Abid Hussain Barlaskar

Three things to remember before buying stock images for ads

Two consumer durables brands, LG and Whirlpool, ended up using the same stock image in their Diwali special print ad campaigns on two different pages of the same newspaper on the same day. The ad for LG appeared on page 5 and Whirlpool's appeared on page 7 in the Mumbai city edition of a leading English daily. The incident crept out of the print medium and found its way to social media leading to a commotion among folks of the ad-marketing fraternity. The image was available on Imagesbazaar, an images and video footage marketplace.

We got in touch with Deepak Kumar, general manager, Mash Audio Visuals, Imagesbazaar's parent company, for a few tips to keep in mind while buying images for ads.

Deepak Verma
Deepak Verma

“We, as a stock photo agency, mainly focus on quick search, pricing, relevance and legal rights. While using stock photos, the users should be assured that they have the legal right to use that downloaded content. And taking pictures from online sources without ensuring the right to use it can lead to legal trouble,” Verma reminds.

The images are sold as stock and exclusive images. Ones that are exclusive could either be from the seller's library or shot and produced as per request.

He adds that using stock images has it's own advantages over exclusive ones, such as lower price and ease of use. Prices of stock images depend on the resolution or quality and can go up to Rs 32,000 on Imagesbazaar. On the opther hand, prices of exclusive images could be around 50-55 per cent higher. The quality is decided as per requirement i.e., outdoor hoardings need a quality higher than that of online ads. The duration of exclusivity depends on the agreement and can range from months to years.

LG ad on page 5
LG ad on page 5

In the case of LG and Whirlpool, he mentions, “LG used the basic image as a screen of the TV without tweaking it much. A different layout of the ad could have made some difference,” he feels. He also accepts that in a scenario when there is ad clutter, issues such as this can happen.

Whirlpool ad on page 7
Whirlpool ad on page 7

Here are a few tips by Verma:

1. Exclusivity is important. Exclusive images although priced higher than stock images, cannot be bought by other users. They serve well when designers do not have enough time for personalisation or customisation.

2. Stock images come at a lower price unlike exclusive images but they have to be used right. They work best when they are combined and used alongside exclusive images. Combining exclusive and custom images also helps in creating a balance between originality and cost.

3. Finding the perfect photo doesn’t mean that it can be used immediately. The stock photos have to be customised so that they look different from the original image. Customisation and fitting the images to brand colour/design themes also makes it better.

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