Andrew Scrivani is a food photographer in NYC. He has noted a trend among marketers that shows how powerful they regard visuals.

“So, this latest, most disturbing turn involves a PR company calling me to ask if I would do a “takeover” of their Instagram feed for an event that they are promoting. They reference “terms & conditions” when making the request but it seemed pretty clear to me that these did not include any fees. When I requested clarification of what these “terms” were I got radio silence. I think people in many businesses that need visuals are finding that appealing to an artist’s vanity is an effective way to get free professionally made content. The use of the word “takeover” is a not so veiled reference to when TV music channels and radio stations have Lady Gaga “take over” the channel and play her music and a few of her favorite songs for a few hours….this is NOT the same thing.”

No, it is not the same thing at all. In the case of Lady Gaga, she is spinning other people’s music for which they are compensated. In the case of a photographer “taking over” a companies Instagram feed, it is little more than exploitation with a carrot dangle… the carrot being the amount of people who will be seeing the photographers/designers/illustrators/creatives work.

I imagine one could build a lot of followers on their Instagram and Tumblr feeds if they acquiesce and simply go along. But the biggest lie is that the numbers are more important than the quality. A well targeted, highly loyal ‘fan base’ is far more important to a creative than a massive amount of people who are not engaged, only clicking the like button because they can.

Beware these sorts of campaigns, and at least go in with your eyes wide open. Yes, you may get a lot of new followers, but then so did the person before you and so will the one after you… big deal. The importance would lie in the quality of the followers.

So far, that has not been determined.

(Photograph from New Jersey on a very warm evening in June.)