Testimonials of those clients and supporters who stand behind your company, product or brand have been a priceless way to advertise and spread the good word about your business. Recently President Trump’s ad team has received a barrage of complaints on an ad campaign that was launched on his behalf.
The campaign showed supporters, their names, and what they had to say about his presidency and the current campaign for the 2020 election. The only thing was, the images were not of the supporter that matched the quote. Instead, stock photos were used.
Is there anything illegal about this? There is not. Despite this numerous people were upset and decided to vocalize their anger. It has been a standard practice for many companies over the years to do just this. Reason being that most of the time when a testimonial is sent in, no accompanying image is attached from the writer.
When ads or promotions are created and testimonials are used often times the format requires an image as well. If one does not exist, stock photos which are purchased, licensed, and paid for are used. This isn’t new or unusual. Yet it has sparked outrage in this single case to the point where the advertising team for Trump has caved and taken the images down.
This does not mean they were wrong in using them in the first place, it simply means the campaign is attracting unintended negative attention and they chose not to continue.
Would it be nice if all testimonials were accompanied by the senders’ own image? Yes, that would be ideal. That isn’t the case generally.
This is purely a judgment call by the part of the political promotion team as it would be by any marketing division of any company. It is up to them individually to decide how to present and promote themselves.
This may be a good cautionary tale, however – if you choose to use non-related stock photos – in this social climate of nitpicking and being offended over everything, you may want to stick with just text or write back to the contributor and ask for a picture that may be shared instead.