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Favored Ad Photography

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A picture may be worth a thousand words on average, but some pictures are worth more than others when used in ads aimed at consumers age 40 and older. A study by Creating Results, which specializes in reaching "mature" consumers, looked at how such people react to photography in ads.

Using face-to-face interviews during September-December in which 40-plusers were shown mock ads, the research found participants preferring ads that used a single image over those with a collage of multiple images, 66 percent to 34 percent. "Vibrant" pictures (brighter colors, an expressive model) scored better than "subdued" pictures (cooler colors, contemplative model), 65 percent to 35 percent-matching the degree of preference for images in which the model was "identifiable" rather than "cropped."

Respondents preferred images of the product itself to the "product in use" (56 percent to 44 percent). But they also favored "lifestyle" photos over product shots (59 percent to 41 percent). They split about evenly when picking between candid and posed shots (51 percent vs. 49 percent).