Kodak Demonstrates Its Awesome Camera Technology With Stock Photo

It’s common practice for companies to license stock photography to use in promotional materials, but one of our readers thinks it’s somewhat strange that a camera company would go this route, when the one thing you’re trying to sell to consumers is the ability to capture great images.

Our reader Phil writes,

Now I’m not acting surprised that a company uses stock photo that another company has used, or even that a company is using a “simulated picture” on their display (though there’s no indication of that in the fine print on their site).

But it’s a freakin’ vertically integrated CAMERA company. Their whole company is about how they can help create great pictures. And then they buy this stock photo, which, presumably cost them about $20 to use on their site because they didn’t even bother to buy the exclusive rights to the photo (which any Fortune 2000 company would absolutely do when launching a new product). If you’re a CAMERA COMPANY, and you can’t get some in-house resources to do a photoshoot for some reason… you cover that trail up!

There’s no outrage here, just bemusement.

Official Kodak store page

Oddly familiar iStockPhoto page

Comments

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  1. Smashville says:

    Don’t companies always use stock photos?

    • Supes says:

      Not always, but it’s pretty common. You tend to see it most in TVs or computer monitors (almost always with the disclaimer “Screen Image Simulated.”)

      I agree it’s kind of funny they’re showing this picture that was, in reality, taken with a professional camera. A bit misleading, since it implies the Kodak camera can take shots in that sort of dark environment (which is usually pretty tough for cheaper cameras), and in an action shot no less (action shots in dark environments tend to be blurrier… the shutter has to be slower to it can capture more light).

      There’s no real problem using a stock photo… the only problem is they’re using a stock photo to imply the camera is capable of taking a certain type of picture.

  2. code65536 says:

    Probably because there’s no way a compact camera (esp. not one made by Kodak) could capture a dark scene that well.

    • jonroknrol says:

      Especially with that red gelled light back there kicking on the auto iris.

    • OSAM says:

      If by “dark scene” you mean “the scene lit by, literally, a dozen flashes, then sure. That scene isn’t dark: they used a short shutter speed to get rid of ambient and a host of flash bulbs to get the light in.

      But you’re right, no camera would be able to get that photo without some very complex light triggering.

  3. adamstew says:

    This was probably the marketing firm that Kodak used that did this. Kodak probably had nothing to do with the design of the website. Some marketing person at a 3rd party firm probably just whipped it up.

  4. smo0 says:

    I thought this was another “porno pic in the new phone” story.

    I’m disappointed.

  5. temporaryscars says:

    You know, I send in a story about a retail worker getting their tooth punched out while trying to stop a shoplifter and it gets ignored, yet junk like this gets in? Come on…

    • apd09 says:

      Same thing here, I sent in an tip about a class action law suit settlement against Expedia and how I got a ~12.00 credit to use when booking my next hotel stay through them that I was not aware of so I wanted to let other consumers know about the suit in case the email was sent to their spam box like mine was.

      • 108socks says:

        I sent it a story about great customer service from Mr. Coffee–when my coffee maker started acting up (2 months past warranty) and I called for some troubleshooting help, and they ended up sending me a new one, free of charge. Never got posted either.

      • Laura Northrup says:

        When did you send it? We never received that email.

    • frank64 says:

      I sent in a story about a title company not paying on the one in a million times it was needed. I thought it was shocking, but it did not get posted. Probably ran with a target price sign discrepancy story instead.

      • AstroPig7 says:

        Actually, I submitted a Target price discrepancy photo earlier this week, but I thought it was just being saved for a slow news day.

    • qbubbles says:

      I agree. I sent in about dominos.com online charging more for a 2 pack of their lava crunch cake than 2 separate single cakes. Nothing.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      Well guys, I think we all know that price sign errors, big boxes for small products and articles about fast food items are way more important.

    • Draygonia says:

      I sent in a story about Ford not displaying the 2011 Superduty truck mileage per gallon statistics anywhere on their website. Of course I sent it in today. Still, why don’t they do it like they do every other vehicle and display on the home page?

    • Nytmare says:

      I sent a story about how every thread of every blog site out there always has some foolish commenter hijacking it to complain about the given story when THEIR chosen stories are obviously sooo much better.

      • apd09 says:

        and then apologists get on board saying that they are fine with mindless stories that have nothing to do with actual consumers on a website called The Consumerist.

        If you want stuff like this then go read The Onion, but some of us actually want stories about consumer issues not that Kodak is using a stock photo. Yes it is ironic, but not all that newsworthy.

  6. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Yeah, Kodak is a camera company, but wouldn’t it be equally disengenuous to pay oodles of money for a photo shoot and use a camera that wasn’t that particular Kodak? Cause that’s what Kodak would have had to do. So obviously, using a stock photo was just cheaper, because you’d get a similar result anyway. Kodak isn’t going to use the little non-professional camera, and consumers shouldn’t look at the website and surmise that the photos depicted are exactly the product they should expect from a relatively inexpensive non-professional camera.

  7. Nighthawke says:

    Kodak WAS the benchmark at one point for the point-and-shoot camera market. And yes they used genuine pictures in their ads too.

    But with the digital revolution, it seems that they have never really gotten a solid footing. Instead, they have relied upon gimmicks to promote their subpar digicams, as well as their controversial and problematic photo management system. I think they tried to emulate Apple and the iPod market by forcing the user to use their software instead of allowing them to use something of better quality like ACDSee. Personally if they tried to seal the card slots up, preventing the user from directly accessing the card, I would not be surprised one bit.

    • glater says:

      actually some of their digital p&s cameras have been stellar. i carried a kodak c875 for ages (til i broke the screen) and got tons of compliments on the image quality – people thought i was using a DSLR often times. not that i’m a great or professional photographer, i’m neither, just a guy who likes taking pictures of the world – but that was a great little camera for the price. i’ve graduated slightly to a more expensive canon powershot with essentially all of the same features, only with more optical zoom.

  8. DeeJayQueue says:

    sort of like how that Pen camera commercial wasn’t actually filmed on a Pen camera?

  9. simplegreen says:

    just be glad its not the quintessential call center woman with a headset. I hate that woman.

  10. SynMonger says:

    So the photo is stock. I own a Zi8 and used it on my vacation overseas. Took some darn decent pictures, and very not-bad video.

  11. ellmar says:

    Dear Kodak Marketing Team – generate traffic, goodwill and internet bonus points by inviting users to submit photos taken with your ACTUAL product. Use the best photos in your next marketing campaign and reward the winner with a new camera. It’s not rocket science.

  12. strawberryjam says:

    Photo shoots are EXPENSIVE. iStockPhoto is not. No wonder they went the way of stock photography.

    • ronbo97 says:

      And you don’t think that Kodak, a bigass film and camera manufacturer, has any photographers on their staff that could come up with a halfway decent pic that would work with this ad ?

  13. blandname says:

    I don’t mind, the photos shown in camera ads and on the websites are always unrealistically good anyway. As others have said, it was probably much cheaper to just license a stock photo than it would have been to send out a professional photographer and stage a scene and get the lighting and camera angles right, etc. Also they were assuming that no one would exhaustively research the sample image used for the simulated display picture.

  14. lukesdad says:

    What no one seems to realize is that the product shown is one of their pocket HD video cameras. Maybe the point is still valid, but I’m pretty well used to seeing “simulated” pictures superimposed on video displays in advertisements. Go through the Best Buy ad in the Sunday paper if you’d like to see evidence of that. Every TV, etc. has the same image plastered onto it.

  15. mmmwright says:

    Well, it’s even stranger that they would do this given the fact that for decades they had photographers on staff that photographed everything. Those huge Kodak photos in Grand Central Terminal were all shot by staff photographers – I knew and worked with many of them when Kodak was my client. But given the current state of the company, they may not have any contemporary photos now. And even if the ad agency chose the photo, someone at Kodak had to approve the usage.

  16. Jenny Cisney - Kodak Chief Blogger says:

    You are right, the best option would be to use picture you took with the product. We hav many different approaches. We use photos our in house pro photographers take, we use photos submitted by the public (with their permission), we use our own employee photos (my pug can be found throughout our website) and yes, we use stock photos.

    Sometimes you have to use a less than ideal alternative – there are times when you are creating marketing pieces for a product where the timeline is so aggressive you don’t even have a working product to take a sample image with.

    The comments have been interesting to read and really we are pretty impressed that everyone is paying such close attention to our images! Thanks for sharing and we will certainly take into consideration what everyone has said.

  17. three says:

    1. Kodak probably doesn’t handle the web design/development internally.
    2. Nor does it have internal resource to do photoshoots.
    3. Use of stock photo is nothing special, even if you are a camera company. Look at Canon or Nikon.

    I will, however, agree that it might’ve been a good idea to buy exclusive rights to the photo.

  18. Garbanzo says:

    I consider this false advertising.

  19. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    Sorry to say but as someone who sells cameras for a living, Kodak cameras leave a lot to be desired in the quality picture-taking category. They are OK but are not at the quality level of your Nikons, Sonys or Canon cameras. At least not the Kodak’s I’ve been privy to dealing with in camera sales. I sell most Kodak cameras to ppl who want a solution that has a lower investment cost and/or has a lower learning curve since Kodak uses SD card memory which many people already own and has Smart Capture which is essentially an easy mode.

  20. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    Sorry to say but as someone who sells cameras for a living, Kodak cameras leave a lot to be desired in the quality picture-taking category. They are OK but are not at the quality level of your Nikons, Sonys or Canon cameras. At least not the Kodak’s I’ve been privy to dealing with in camera sales. I sell most Kodak cameras to ppl who want a solution that has a lower investment cost and/or has a lower learning curve since Kodak uses SD card memory which many people already own and has Smart Capture which is essentially an easy mode.

  21. gc3160thtuk says you got your humor in my sarcasm and you say you got your sarcasm in my humor says:

    Sorry re. the dbl. post Android decided to get all putzy and weird on me LOL

  22. Aaron Poehler says:

    Anyone who’s even slightly surprised by this has had their head in the sand for awhile.