Check out this tweet by Irish freelance creative Davy McDonald...it's a poster for Nikon eyeglasses he found at a camera store and opticians in Belfast (I assume a Black & Lizar's?).
Whoops! My guess is that somebody at an ad agency somewhere is wishing he lived on a different planet right about now. Or if not yet, soon.
[UPDATE: This just in...Ken Bennett discovered that the picture is a stock image from Shutterstock.
Wow. I'm not sure which is worse, to photographers...a Nikon company using a Fuji camera in an ad, or a Nikon company using a stock photo for an ad. Doesn't anybody pay for photography any more?!? If even Nikon won't, who will? Not that there's anything wrong with stock....
UPDATE #2, Wed. 3 p.m.: Nikon Optical has sent a statement to PetaPixel, which first publicized this story, apologizing for the error and thanking David McDonald for calling it to their attention. "The poster has since been removed from the store and we are taking measures to strengthen the review process of our marketing material," the statement says in part. —Ed.]
The alien engineer
Anybody who's been connected to advertising or publishing can probably spin some yarns of similar things happening. I remember hearing tales of the fallout from the late David E. Davis, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Automobile magazine, when a vehicle was misidentified on the magazine's cover. The campers were not happy at Automobile's offices that day.
My favorite story along those lines was one I heard during my short tenure at Model Railroader magazine. Kalmbach Publishing had an ace graphic artist who was a beta tester for Adobe and could do miraculous things with Illustrator. It seems this artist had many other interests, however, one of which was space travel and aliens and so forth. Once, after he finished working on a cover image for the magazine—a picture of a locomotive under power—he created an alien engineer and placed it in the cab of the locomotive, as a private joke for some friends. Of course he removed the alien from the file that was to be used for the real cover of the magazine.
...Or so he thought. Somehow—he explained it to me, but of course I've long forgotten the details—the file went off to the printer with the alien inadequately hidden, and the version with the alien engineer in the cab got printed on hundreds of thousands of magazine covers.
Hawkeye Syndrome saved the guy's job—that's what my brother called the plot line when Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H would get into hot water and then get off the hook by demonstrating how indispensable he was as a surgeon. The Illustrator ace was too valuable to the company to be punished. It was a while before he lived it down, though.
This one probably isn't that bad. I'd like to be a fly on the wall at Fuji headquarters as this gets around the Internet, though, wouldn't you? They'll probably want a few of those posters.
(Thanks to Stephen Scharf)
ADDENDUM: Here's that cover, from July 1999:
Scanned by "theSOURCE" at Unexplained-Mysteries.com, via Ned and V.I. Voltz
Original contents copyright 2016 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Tim Auger: "I remember being told of a book put out by a very reputable publisher of music books. On the cover was an image of a grand piano. The designer, being a designer, flipped the image left-to-right, to accommodate the typography more elegantly. Thus was created the only grand piano known to have short strings played by the left hand, and long strings played by the right. I believe they caught it just in time...."
Dave Stewart: "Another earlier one from Nikon. I noted it was amended a day or two afterwards."
Mike replies: A Canon being used in a Nikon ad is telling. A Canon exec told me in the early '90s that by the late '80s, Canon was getting tired of hiring pros who shot their ad campaigns with Nikons. At that time, they had recently gone looking specifically for a pro who used Canons to shoot their ads.
I should mention, though, that in the '70s, Canon was not a direct competitor for Nikon. Canon was one of a number of more or less equal companies that shared the mostly-amateur market; Minolta was the biggest of those. Nikon had the professional market largely to itself. By the '90s, though, Canon was emerging as Nikon's chief rival and a Canon ad campaign being shot with a Nikon would have been increasingly inappropriate, whereas it would not have been ten or fifteen years earlier.
Mark Hobson: "Then there was the time I walked into Kodak's corporate headquarters to deliver finished B&W prints from a marketing photo project. I never gave any attention—and quite obviously, thought—to the fact that I was delivering them in an Ilford photo paper box (and yes, the pictures were printed on Ilford paper). Needless to state, quite a few marketing department higher-ups did give immediate and non-amused attention to the Ilford box. And I am fairly certain that, after the dust-up was over, I was ultimately 'saved' by the Hawkeye Syndrome."
John Krill: "The ad is a classic case of 'You get what you pay for.'"
Struan: "A local bank had an advertising campaign for their mortgage services, with big posters in each window with stock photos of bright young couples settling into bright young dwellings. One young woman appeared to be setting up house with two different men. A more worrying trend is the increasing use of stock images to 'illustrate' news stories. Odd that widespread availability and distribution of imagery should cause a trend to an even faster regression to the predictable mean."
Mike replies: That last point is fascinating and deserves more discussion someday.
Ed Hawco: "Using a Fuji camera in a Nikon ad is a mistake, plain and simple. Having an alien driving a model train is not a 'mistake,' it's just an odd choice, or a sight gag, or Easter egg. Big difference, if you ask me.
"...And personally, had I seen that alien-train cover, I probably would have bought the magazine just for that, even though I don't have much interest in model trains."
Mike replies: Well, when the editors and publishers don't want an alien in the cab, then an alien in the cab is a mistake, I can assure you! Although I was told that most readers assumed it was deliberate, whether they loved it or found it discordant.
Michael Bearman: "It almost happened to me as a lawyer. I ran a case years ago for Agfa. Despite express and detailed instructions, all of the photo evidence came back printed on Kodak paper. I had to kick up a fuss to have the lab redo it all. Of course, the first thing the Agfa execs did when they came into the office to discuss the case was flip the prints over to check the paper."
Tom: "The city of Birmingham, England once printed 720,000 leaflets featuring a stock photo of Birmingham, Alabama. Despite discovering the error, they went ahead anyway and distributed them."
Mike replies: This made me giggle for five minutes....