Often times when creating a print or digital ad campaign, my staff and I at Spiro & Associates find ourselves in a debate with our clients with regards to imagery. We often hear, “Should the product be the main photo? — that’s what people want to see.”


Bricks and mortar, or a box, or package are what motivate people to visit a website, retail location or professional location to see a particular product?  That’s why people find those postage-stamp-sized classified-ad photos so easy to read and understand (insert tongue firmly in cheek here).


  • The reality is that our current potential customer base is a mixture of Baby Boomers and Millennials.  They bring a cross-spectrum of shopping and buying habits that an astute professional must cater to.
  • Some of the differences are that, according to Pew Research, 59% of Baby Boomers favor smaller government.
  • Millennials exhibit no more trust in the establishment than Baby Boomers did, yet the majority of Millennials, 53%, say they want a bigger government that offers more services. In other words, Bernie Sanders’ “socialist agenda.”
  • More Millennials live at home than their parents did at the same age. More than a fifth (22%) of households currently have two or more adult generations living under the same roof, a level not seen since the end of World War II.
  • But while this is a symptom of the new generation gap, it does not mean there’s a war between the generations. “It’s hard to wage a war when you’re living under the same roof.”  Confused yet?  Me too!!

Buyer Traits

couple-selfieWhat we in the advertising industry have found is that both segments of buyers exhibit two traits: one, a strong alliance and appreciation for a recognizable brand and two, a desire to see what their futures are going to look like…as in, “Don’t show me your product, show me the experience” as stated in an article from US News & World Report on retirement.

Show your clients a key visual that they can look at and think, “Hmm, I can see myself doing that…or living there…or using that product.” Remember, most of the current buyers are either retiring and moving here, relocating because they’re empty nesters and want to spend the last 10 years of their career in the sun and/or reconnecting with a spouse now that the house has no children

Or—in the case of the Millennials—they’ve had a life-altering event in their lives such as marriage or the birth of a child that is a catalyst to motivate them to buy their first home. It’s perfectly acceptable and appropriate to use your product to show this lifestyle component.

family-playingCooking together in your new spacious kitchen to market your new model home…laying by that new pool enjoying a cocktail to market your pool cleaning service…playing with the kids on the floor in the family room with a new widget to market your widget product…walking, biking, jogging, inline skating on the neighborhood streets to market your new apparel, fitness app, water, etc.  All of this with your product photography and benefits woven into the ad.

Now, I am not saying do away with product all together.  You will see a great deal of advertising created by my shop that has the key lifestyle visual and employs smaller inset photos that show the product and the packaging.


Your brand

Finally, above all, make your brand stand for something. Make your company something a prospect can believe in.

When someone mentions your company name, you want those they communicate with to say to themselves, “I know that company, they do great work, or offer great service or have a great product” and have that instantaneous recall with positive thoughts associated with it. A great deal of this also comes from lending your company’s time, talent and treasury to community service projects, social media campaigns, a cohesive public relations campaign and robust SEO/SEM efforts.

I could go on for days about branding, but will stop here.  So when you are working on your next print or digital ad, or flyer, or brochure, simply step back and ask yourself, “If I was my customer, could I see myself here using this product or service?”  You will be amazed at how your advertising progresses and sales increase.