"Real People" ad campaigns

Have you noticed this trend?  I feel like I'm seeing it everywhere... brands asking blogger-photographers, as well as just normal photographers, to create ad campaigns of "real people" wearing their products.

There's actually no reason "real people" should be in quotations, except that in the case of Tod's and Cole Haan, if you're wearing the shoes on a daily basis, you might be real, but you're not exactly a plebian, so saying "real people" might overextend the point.  So really, by "real," I mean, non-actors/models.

Here, a Tod's campaign by wonderful photographer Eliott Erwitt.

I feel like it's a way of brands attempting to become more real and human to people.  Like the idea of the Creative Director becoming the human face of a brand, or knowing the "story" of a company and its materials, knowing who the photographer is and who the subjects are makes you, as the buyer, feel somehow closer to the brand, like it is more accessible to you. 

Instead of advertising images just appearing like magic on a magazine page, you have a sense of how the image was created, which makes it feel more authentic, and, as a result, leads you to feel that the ad is more believable.

For this Cole Haan campaign, the brand asked Todd Selby, of The Selby, to photograph people who inspire him wearing Cole Haan shoes.

Interesting the way this is bringing the whole photographer-blogger thing full circle, since I guess we wouldn't have really known these photographers in the days before blogs.  

Like Scott Schuman, for example, was already a fashion photographer, but now we know who he is, so now it's like, "Oh look, these brands are using that photographer we like," when really, they're just capitalizing on the fact that we know who they are now by publicizing who the photographer is.  It's working out well for the photographers who have created blogs!!

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