Am I shilling for Mac Minis?
February 23, 2005 5:47 PM   Subscribe

Have you ever found yourself in a banner ad?

One of my friends emailed me (and a large group of my friends) earlier today with an image of a banner ad:

Even my husband thinks this is the top of my head. If it isn't me (from a few years ago when my hair was shorter), I have a clone out there with the same right forehead cowlick and bump under the right eyebrow and close-set eyes (way to make myself sound hideous). I can't really recall taking a picture like this, but it's possible. I've been searching through the photos I have and I can't find anything like it, but who knows?

So, I kind of have a few questions/requests:
1. If you have access to some stock imagery and can find the full face of this person and prove that it is not me, I will be grateful.
2. If you can use awesome Google-fu to locate where they found this face (mine or not) on the web, I will be grateful.

Since I can't currently prove that it is me, I suppose I'm not too concerned about it, but if I were, how could I get some satisfaction? I can't help thinking of this story. I'm waiting to hear from the friend about which website this was found on.

I apologize for the rather self-serving nature of this, but it is perplexing me to no end and I'd rather not blame my expulsion from grad school on "spent too much time trying to find out if face was used in banner ad".
posted by stefnet to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you know what website your friend found the ad on? It doesn't look like anything that Apple would create—as an ad it's pretty sloppy. In fact, it looks like one of the ads for one of those sketchy referral-based MLM get-a-free-iPod sites, which I could easily see hiring an unscrupulous designer.

Just warning that you might not be able to get much in the way of satisfaction even if you do trace the picture.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 6:15 PM on February 23, 2005

Still waiting to hear from him... I want to be able to actually click on the ad to see the site it leads to.

I'm really not interested in any sort of compensation and more interested in just confirming that it is or is not me. I've long known the risks of having your face available online, and, you're right, it looks like a sketchy company.

I almost wish they used the whole face, just to make it more obvious...
posted by stefnet at 6:23 PM on February 23, 2005

pretty crappy ad, if you ask me... the face is all washed out. 2 seconds in photoshop could fix that right up.
posted by crunchland at 6:28 PM on February 23, 2005

Washed out, but yet they seem to have given "me" perfectly placed eyelashes...
posted by stefnet at 6:34 PM on February 23, 2005

fwiw, I found a reference to a file named macmini728.gif (no ms-) on an ad agency's website.
posted by crunchland at 6:35 PM on February 23, 2005

I would definitely start (as you alluded) with searches on photo stock websites — the keyword searches are really pretty comprehensive. I'm sure someone out there has a more comprehensive list of stock photo sites than I do, but quick searches on "short haired woman looking up" gives tons of similar results at Corbis and istockphoto (but no exact matches, sorry).

In any case, unless you've been in for professional portraiture, I'm really doubting it's you. Granted, it's a 90 pixel tall GIF, but something about the photo just really feels like it has some production quality to it. Not to rain on your parade, but that's not a terribly uncommon woman's haircut, I don't see the bump under the eyebrow you're talking about, and I would not be surprised if the eyes were recolored for the purpose of the ad. I'm sure the similarity is quite striking to you and your friends, but seriously, it's a forehead.

pretty crappy ad, if you ask me... the face is all washed out. 2 seconds in photoshop could fix that right up.

It's definitely a crappy ad, but I would venture that they brightened the image intentionally to match the dreamy-glowy sort of look overall.

Best of luck in any case. Here's hoping for a Folgers-style settlement.
posted by rafter at 7:10 PM on February 23, 2005

I have a friend who takes photos - of everything - and regularly sells them for stock. Do you know anyone who might have taken the photo of you? If so, they would have needed to sign a model release to get permission (not doing so means the Folgers style payout from some of the interested parties.) It is almost unheard of these days for stock libraries to miss out on the model releases.

The more likely (but still unlikely) possibility is that a friend of yours was the designer of the banner ad and used a snap of you in it.

On the other hand, the pretty-girl-with-her-eyes-raised-skywards is an absolute cliché of internet advertising. I've seen pictures like that many a time. So chances are it's someone else. There are billions of people out there.
posted by skylar at 7:15 PM on February 23, 2005

does this photo look to anyone else like it could be from the same shoot?
posted by splatta at 7:44 PM on February 23, 2005

whoop! thank you google images
posted by splatta at 7:45 PM on February 23, 2005

hmm... after a bit of photoshop manipulation... I still can't be sure if that's the exact photo, but it DOES seem to be the same model, and the same shoot... anyone else?
posted by splatta at 7:54 PM on February 23, 2005

same model, different shots, done in a studio. There is some rather clumsy clone-stamping work done on the fetlock (shortened in the banner ad to fall above the eyebrow), and the eyebrow shapes have perhaps been been manipulated (there are perceptable gaps in follicle coverage on the left brow in the banner ad which are not apparent in the google image) So unless you are in the habit of obsessively grooming your eyebrows (eyebrow hair is rather stiff and not very prone to shifting) and can remember sitting for multiple shots looking upward (btw, the banner ad eyes have also been manipulated--if you get in close enough you can see where the artist shifted pixels, elongating the iris and blowing out the square reflection in a manner which is not consistent with the kind of consistent hue shifting that converting the image to an indexed colorspace might explain), I'd say this is probably not you...
posted by Chrischris at 8:13 PM on February 23, 2005

Yes, that's all very nice, but do you have her phone number?!
posted by dhartung at 11:56 PM on February 23, 2005

To answer the question on the front page, no, I have never found myself in a banner ad. Next!
posted by grouse at 1:22 AM on February 24, 2005

you can call stock houses or email them the ad and simply ask if it's one of their images--play dumb and don't say you think it's you. (Getty owns tons of them nowadays)
posted by amberglow at 5:32 AM on February 24, 2005

stefnet, the person in question was definitely photographed in a studio, look at the eyes. Were you ever photographed in a studio and posed like that?

It seems unusual for any sort of family portrait to be looking up and to your right so this would seem to be a more professional portrait intended for stock photography. I say look at the eyes because of the obvious light source reflecting in them, also look at the illumination of the face (even though it's been adjusted after the fact).
posted by substrate at 5:33 AM on February 24, 2005

Thanks everyone. I agree that it's definitely not the sort of pose that one would find in a regular old snapshot, but I have done many weird little projects (including a selection of fake album covers featuring myself) that make it somewhat plausible that I would have a more "posed" photo somewhere out there.

I think it is likely the case that they took a stock photo of someone else and all of the manipulating that you all have pointed out ended up making the top of this person's head look uncannily like my own. I'm tempted to recreate this pose to investigate further, but I think I'll let it go.
posted by stefnet at 6:23 AM on February 24, 2005

That said, it is a rather creepy use...
posted by delmoi at 10:44 AM on February 24, 2005

I'm tempted to recreate this pose to investigate further

That would be so cool! Do it!
posted by Mid at 11:08 AM on February 24, 2005

I'm pretty sure the woman with the big glasses in the banner ad went to my high school. Do I get a point for that?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:26 AM on February 24, 2005

If it makes you feel any better, Purina has a model on one of their "X-chow" lines of food that looks *so* much like me that distant relatives have called my mother to ask if it's me. (And no, it's not...but it's uncannily similar.)
posted by dejah420 at 12:44 PM on February 24, 2005

Mid - If my hair were still that length, I'd do it, but the mere fact that it's longer would make it difficult to recreate the placement of the hair on the forehead.
posted by stefnet at 7:33 PM on February 24, 2005

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