The Amazing Superpower of ‘Normal’ Photos

Have you noticed some advertisements are less professional, staged and photoshopped – a resemblance to your Instagram photos and user-generated content?

A Wall Street Journal article, “Why Ads Are Imitating the Photos in Your Smartphone,” notes that while the smartphone style of advertisements aren’t any cheaper, the point is to “manufacture glamour that doesn’t seem manufactured.” 

Take these examples:

What This Means

These campaigns work because they are novel and authentic. They are not the traditional form of advertising. We see this type of content everyday on social media but rarely as advertisements. User-generated content also tends to be cheaper, shareable and provides differing perspectives from fans.

Nonprofits should also follow this strategy to catch the attention of your donors and volunteers. It’s about transparency and authenticity. (Of course, professional photos still have their place!)

Your Next Steps

Your organization should:

  • Encourage photo sharing for events from everyone.
  • Capture in-the-moment video and photos with smartphones and tablets.
  • Snap a photo of whom or what projects will be supported by donations.

Leveraging user-generated content to build your online reputation and the organization will appear more human to your supporters.


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