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Male, single, is looking for….

Today, someone told me he was single. It didn’t come with the usual feeling of shock (“oh my god, you broke up with x”), since I only knew very little about him.

Here is the list of what I knew about him before:

He suffers from hayfever but after taking some heyfever pills on display in the window of my local pharmacy, he feels smiley-fine.
transparency in advertising stock pictures pharmacy










He tells me it’s fine to spend 70c on using a German motorway toilet. That’s why he smiles at me with his entire family, from the inside of the door of the toilet cubicle, as I sit down on the toilet.
transparecy in advertising stock photo 2








As for his job, it’s quite confusing, I haven’t quite worked it out yet:

He is the one inviting me to apply for a job at a big software company. …





But he is also a student, – in fact, the one that asks the ‘stupid questions’ that make everyone laugh.
transparency in advertising stock picture 4




As and when I learn more about this guy, I will update this section, – but here is how he told me that he was single today:

kissnofrog single adverts online advertising transparency in advertising stock photo 6







OK, I am still shocked. What happened to his family (I counted at least 4 kids)? Why did they break up? Did the kids say, we don’t want to drive to those motorway toilets again?

Maybe his dating announcement itself is shocking, or possibly just annoying: At the risk of stating the obvious, I am not a fan of men and women that appear on my screen and sometimes flick their hair at me. But they could, in theory, also pose a slightly more interesting transparency question:

If we know that the person selling us a service, a company, etc isn’t real but comes from a stock photo, why doesn’t our brain then also register the advertised service or company as slightly ‘fake’? Is there no benefit for a company in using ‘real’ people, staff or customers? The argument in favour of using real people would be that anyone responding to the marketing effort does not have to factor in the ‘disappointment’ when they discover the ‘real’ company behind the stock photo. What makes us register a feel-good-factor with a company, even if we know that this guy never took the hay-fever tablets or inspected those toilets? Imagine the face of the real ‘head of HR’ on the job portal above.  Would you be more or less tempted to apply? And should a company’s real gathering of white, beardy guys be replaced, in a brochure, with a stock picture that suggests a much more diverse working environment?

Finally: Do companies risk a negative effect on their image, if the same face that should attract top quality job seekers is also advertising a dating service that a potential job seeker could, conceivably, have had a bad experience with, or simply does not find appealing? I certainly wasn’t tempted.

I would be interested to hear other views with this transparency question. Thanks in advance!


Marianne Klausberger is an English lawyer specialising in Compliance topics within German-speaking regions. During her career in private practice in London she focused on dispute resolution and company investigations in, as memories of snow storm, broken air con and varying passport offices tell her, drastically different locations, and gathered experience presenting evidence to the authorities in Washington. After moving in-house, she spent almost three years leading the development of Compliance methodologies in a global chemicals and pharmaceuticals company. She continues to work with companies on such topics on a freelance basis. Approaches to designing the company’s Compliance ‘foundation’ differ widely, yet the hurdles encountered in the implementation show similar patterns. Looking at such obstacles soon becomes the focus of a project. The know-how on FCPA, UK Bribery Act, etc might be there, but it needs to be carried into the organisation; or, wants to be grasped in German, when authorities in the UK or the US may seem far away. A realistic approach remains important to her, – as her t-shirt says: “[I am] easily influenced”, and – probably – so are most of us.

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