The Power of an Image
The May 21st issue of Time Magazine is generating an immense amount of buzz with this cover image for a parenting feature. After the cover was released, it exploded online, becoming a trending topic on Twitter, the subject of conversations in brand chats and was covered by major media. We’ve all heard that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In this case, a picture is worth many many thousands of words.
What’s interesting is that much of the conversation is based on the actual cover image and not the actual story. Is the image shocking? Touching? Controversial? Natural? Everyone has an opinion. One thing is for sure, it’s powerful. Time is the hot topic of the moment, because of their choice of imagery. Images can capture what can’t be said in words. They can elicit emotion with just a glance. How powerful is this image, or this, or this one?
For brands, the use of imagery is more important than ever. No longer is an ad contained to TV or print. Now, it’ll be immortalized online, embedded on YouTube, shared on Facebook and Twitter. Imagery is powerful, but it can also be polarizing.
The United Colors of Benetton used controversial imagery in their UNHATE campaign, generating enormous buzz, ultimately leading to the ads being pulled. The World Wildlife Fund garnered a huge backlash over this ad. American Apparel pushed the envelope with their ads, sometimes leading to the ads being pulled or even banned.
In short: be creative, but be smart. Take into account who your audience is, and how different audiences may react. What does your imagery say about the brand, and is it serving the intended purpose?
Are there any images that stand out for your brand or otherwise? Let us know in the comments!