Beware the Nasty Mug Shot in Your Ads

Think you're saving money by using a photo in your ad that was taken by your personnel department—or someone else in the organization who fancies himself a photographer? We'd suggest you can the ad altogether if you can't produce a good, professional-quality picture.

Whenever you're promoting a professional service, a strong photo of the right kind is imperative. We've seen too many similar ads where the  photo looks like a passport photo or police mug shot—conveying him or her as lifeless, unengaged, unprofessional and even incompetent.

By contrast, the images used in these two ads capture the vibrancy and personality of these physicians. They invite you to trust them with your health, and are warm without being overly chummy.

When we work with health care clients, we insist that physicians wear uniforms or lab coats—sometimes to great resistance. In the same way the public expects a police officer, military personnel or airline captains to be in uniform, they still want to see evidence of this professionalism in the apparel worn by health care providers. If you're inclined to disagree, ask yourself how you'd feel boarding an airplane with staff wearing jeans and polo shorts—or worse yet, t-shirts.