I’ll bet many of you work for companies that regularly have “POOP” in their newsletters, annual reports and even at their websites.
“POOP” stands for Photos that Ought to be Outlawed Permanently. The acronym is the brainchild of Jean Clough, who teaches photography. Her friend, Steve Crescenzo, thought it was so clever when he first heard it that he wrote about it in his blog called “Corporate Hallucinations.”
In fact, Crescenzo is asking his blog visitors to vote on his top nominees for the POOP Award. Here’s how he describes some of them:
—The Execution at Dawn photo. This is where you line up a bunch of team members against the wall and “shoot them.” The only tension in this photo is, how does each person position his hands? Do you do the “fig leaf,” and hold them in front of your crotch? Do you put them behind your back? At your sides? In your pockets? The drama!!!”
—The “Hey, we’re having a meeting!” photo, where you show two or more people, preferably middle-aged white guys in suits, at a long table, with at least one person leaning into a microphone.
—The “grammar-school class picture” photo, where the “photographer” lines up way too many team members for a group shot, resulting in a picture where each person’s head is roughly the size of a Cheerio and you can’t tell who anybody is.
—The “employee at work” photo where an obviously posed worker is doing his best not to look at the camera.
I posted a comment at the blog saying my personal favorites were none of the above. I’d give the POOP award to….the envelope please…
Those awful check-passing, ground-breaking and ribbon-cutting photos which I lump into a category called grip-and-grin. Two people are gripping the ends of an oversized check and grinning for the camera. Or both are gripping a plaque or trophy, shaking hands with each other, and looking straight into the camera with a dumb grin on their faces.
If you’re guilty of using these photos, shame on you. Don’t try to get off the hook with the lame excuse “the boss made me do it.”
In my new ebook “How to Use Photos & Graphics in Your Publicity Campaign,” I devote an entire chapter to the ubiquitous grip-and-grin photos. And I tell you about a little online exercise you can show the boss to drive home your point that these photos are nothing but POOP. If I were you, I’d also show the boss Steve’s blog item. Then start thinking about creative alternatives to the examples listed above.