A quick riff on matching photography to demographics

Returning from a weekend break with friends on Sunday, I was intrigued by a poster in a South Eastern station, advertising the senior railcard for over 60’s.

I’m trying hard to understand the relevance of including the happy female Millennial as part of this advertising?

Possible explnations:

  • She is the daughter of the senior card holder and delighted at the prospect of more frequent visits by her interfering parents?
  • The same daughter is delighted that, now her parents can save 30% on all rail travel, they have left on an extended holiday and she has a house party booked that same night?
  • She has a fascinating fetish for “savvy” older men who like a bargain and can’t wait for him to arrive?

Or is the easier explanation that whichever advertising agency the rail company hired delegated this job to an office junior who pulled a stock image in a rush to get our for lunch?

As always. observations like this remind me of the gaffs I see in dental practice.

The dental equivalent of this poster would be advertising for dental implants that featured hopeful Millennials posting selfies of their developing abs to Instagram.

You wouldn’t think that possible – I was browsing through some dental web sites with a client the other day and we did find an implant clinic whose home page was a collection of twenty-somethings all looking beautiful.

Seth Godin tells us that the first question in a prospective new patient’s mind is:

“do people like me visit places like yours?”

So it’s important that your digital and print media advertising collateral covers the bases on the demographics you want to attract.

By the way – preferably real patients as we all recognise a stock photograph.

The rail poster is a classic example of advertising done by people who don’t understand people.

Have you checked your imagery recently?

(the contrary amongst you will also speculate that the mistake was a deliberate one to gain attention – I think you credit the creator with too much intelligence)


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.