Does Lifestyle Photography Really Stop Shoppers?

I feel that lifestyle photography is always a topic of debate in advertising—especially in store. Will it pay off the brand’s message? Will it disrupt shopper behavior? And if it does, will shoppers relate to it? Or will they say, “that’s not me”? I believe lifestyle photography can affect shopper decisions, but it must be the right image.

Though shoppers are used to seeing ads with Photoshopped families, toned athletes, and supermodels, there is an increasing risk that shoppers are tuning them out in favor of more authentic, relatable images. With the rise of Facebook, InstagramTM, and Tumblr®, people are getting their fill of “authentic” images and can more easily spot those who try and fake it (e.g., marketers). And let’s be honest, we like to see pictures of ourselves, our friends, and friends of our friends—even if we’ve never met them. So when it comes to imagery, being real and authentic is intriguing and attention-getting.

Dove® had success using real people in their Real Beauty campaign in 2004. The idea that it could be someone you know hit home with shoppers. Currently, the Foot Locker® Stand Out in the Sun campaign put people you might know in the spotlight. It asks shoppers to tag their summer Instagram photos with #kickstagram and @footlocker for a chance to be showcased in Foot Locker ads.

While photographing real women or crowdsourcing Instagram pictures might not work for every brand, it shows that there are many options when it comes to lifestyle photography. What images are most effective with shoppers? I think it is a question that’s still up for debate.