Aurora’s Stock Market


When they aren’t getting confused as to the right clip art to use on signs someone over at town hall is busy clicking and sticking stock imagery into every conceivable communications piece including, as previously mentioned, the town’s website banners.
Here are a few more examples:

Stock imagery has also polluted the town’s social feeds.  I have posted previously on the the stock image currently used in their Youtube header.

Here are some tweets paired up with their respective stock imagery sources:

On both twitter and facebook stock imagery infiltrates notices for summer camps:

which seems particularly weak considering the town could easily secure sign off for imagery in the enrollment process for their very own camps.

Also counterproductive is the use of stock imagery targeted to engage Aurora’s youth population:

Outlined on page 5 of the The Municipal Youth Engagement Handbook is this advice:

Relevance: Are you using language and examples that link the issues to the immediate lives of those in your audience?

Under words of wisdom is advice to avoid stereotypes:


The very thing that stock images provide.

Stock imagery is cliche and meaningless and fails to excite or increase interest and investment in planning a communities future, the exact goals stipulated to attract the next generation of municipal leaders:


Sadly its not just Aurora’s youth that are getting reduced down to a point and click proxy.

Aurora seniors are depicted on the the town’s website using a stereotypical stock image as well:



Late in 2016 I commented on the fact that the town went too far the other way and used an unrealistic stock image choice advertising an aurora seniors centre trip on facebook.
The town responded that they used a stock image because they were unable to get a group “as happy as the stock photo people – and were willing to pose for pics”.

Strangely enough it didn’t have the same reservations this year and recreated the cheesy pose from the stock image with hilarious results.:


The result, absolutely pathetic.  A total of, count them 5 hands in the air.

Here’s an idea.

Don’t try to imitate cheesy stock photos.

Leave that to Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson and Dave Franco

Just take authentic photos.

Which was a direction I thought they were finally coming around to when I noticed Aurora put out a call for real images for their rec guide on facebook and twitter back in June:


That facebook post to the town’s strategic goal of providing an exceptional quality of life for all by receiving 1 share and zero likes.

As per the lame hashtag #AuroraJRPM18 only a total of 5 tweets used it, all by the town. The highest shared was 6 and highest likes 7.  No photos.

This week is the launch of said recreation guide, which you can view online, and no surprise it is full of stock photos.

Not even the cover image is from Aurora:


What gives?

Using stock imagery is a massive content marketing fail as pointed out in Buddy Scalera’s June 22nd Content Marketing Institute Piece.

Last February the Town of Aurora posted and filled a position of Digital Strategist at a cost of over $75,000.

With this staff position on payroll how exactly does the town justify purchasing and pushing out all the aforementioned stock imagery?

Achieving the town’s recently adopted Communications strategy by reducing Aurora’s identity to a stream of poser stock photos.

Yeah, I wouldn’t put much stock in that.


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