You see this all the time now. Ads, flyers, websites are full of pictures of people on the phone. But it wasn't always so. When this ad was created in 1984, it was unheard of. The ad's creator realized that the pro audio business wasn't so much an 'equipment business' as it was a 'people business' and that showing the client's people would help new customers feel more comfortable calling in for the first time. It proved a very successful concept.

What: Concept, copy, design, photography, production art

For: “We give you the kind of information about professional audio products you won’t find in the brochures,” full-page color magazine ad

Client: Everything Audio (Pro Audio dealer)

When: 1984

People Pictures for a People Business

You see this all the time now. Ads, flyers, websites are all crawling with pictures of people on the phone. But it wasn’t always so.

When I created this ad way back in 1984, I thought long and hard about how to differentiate my client, a dealer in professional audio equipment, from all the other dealers and their ads featuring numerous tiny (and therefore meaningless) pictures of gear. After quizzing company president Brian Cornfield at some length over just how he did business, I learned that most sales were initiated by an incoming phone call and that many of his customers had never actually seen the staff. It seemed to me that this wasn’t just an equipment business, this was essentially a “people business” and that showing the people involved would not only reinforce his existing customer base but would make new customers more comfortable in calling for the first time. It worked very very well. Photographing the people was a challenge. They couldn’t quite understand what I was doing and what I meant by “look friendly but don’t smile particularly.”

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