How Adobe turned overly shiny happy people into viral marketing gold

Adobe stock photo campaign
Photo credit: Adobe

Shiny happy people is not just a 90’s hit song by REM, it is also what you see on many, many of today’s corporate websites. Often times you’ll also stumble upon the exact same shiny happy people on different websites across the internet. Do these people all work in the same place? Of course not, they are stock photos.

Adobe Nordic decided to take the somewhat worn out concept of using stock photos (you know the ones with overexcited people, carefully directed men and women in suits shaking hands in the lobby of a bright-white-and-chrome office space, a diverse group of people huddling up in front of a computer screen looking suspiciously excited about that Excel spreadsheet or a team of people who are all photographed from their very best angle and dressed in nothing but clothes so new that the price tags are still attached whilst watching the most exciting PowerPoint presentation ever) and turn it into pure viral marketing gold.

With t-shirts, of course. Adobe teamed up with advertising agency Abby Priest and launched their own temporary clothing line, “Adobe Stock Apparel SS16“, consisting of t-shirts with some of the most stereotypical stock photos of all times printed on them, like “Laughing woman eating healthy vegetable salad”.

Photo credit: Adobe

Ironically enough; Adobe is doing this to promote their own stock photo service, Adobe Stock, to showcase how Adobe Stock stands out from traditional stock suppliers and to communicate how the integration of their cloud-based stock photo service is changing the way creatives work. In Adobe’s own words:

“We wanted to find a campaign concept that highlights the fact that the world of stock photography is changing and that Adobe Stock really stands out from traditional stock suppliers. We wanted to pay tribute to what has been before and then take one last glimpse backwards before we leave it all behind and move into the new age.”

The result?
Swedish media news outlet Dagens Media recently spoke to the Creative Director of the campaign at Abby Priest who mentioned that the campaign, which launched in June of this year, has reached its intended viral effect in social media and has been picked up in 17 countries by major news outlets like Times Magazine, Huffington Post, AD week and Mashable with a reach of over 100 million people.

Well done, Adobe and Abby Priest.