People As Design Elements


[Tim Bray][] notes in his post on People that

[His] number-one gripe about corporate web sites is the use of anonymous bright shiny happy people (carefully balanced as to race and gender) as design elements.

Lately, I discovered something very interesting, but also puzzling here in ol’ Yurop. While our main gripe about the US is clear, we1 silently started copying the habits with respect to advertisements of the Americas:

Almost every ad being produced by some (European) company and showing more than two people has exactly that appearance Tim mentions: Anonymous bright shiny happy people (carefully balanced as to race and gender).

The best example – maybe – is the Royal Philips, whose consumer advertisements in Europe will at least show (in no particular order):

  • An Asian lady
  • A White lady
  • A Black gentleman * An Indian gentleman

Somehow disturbing, if you know that the Philips HQs are located in the Netherlands and that the inventors of political correctness in advertisements are thought to be in the US …

  1. Well, I should say them, as I am not in the Ads business … [Tim Bray]: ↩︎


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