We've said it before and we'll say it again. Video producers really need to check what they're including when they use stock video. If they don't, the public will. After several embarrassing examples of tourism boards promoting their destination with footage from completely different places, this time it's a water company that's in.. well.. hot water.
UK regional provider Yorkshire Water produced a video that aimed to encourage Yorkshire people to share advice on water saving with each other. It showed local people chatting away, even in a Russian bar, before inexplicably finishing with a shot of the Malvern Hills in Herefordshire, over 100 miles away. They should have used our guide to the best stock photo libraries.
Yorkshire Water are in hot water after an ad campaign used images from the Malvern Hills, a left hand drive car and even a bar in Russia.Jon Kay had more details on #BBCBreakfasthttps://t.co/fcdPZ48olc pic.twitter.com/wSyV7J3m6dJuly 26, 2023
Stock video can be very useful for filling in generic scenes in a video, and it's becoming more and more necessary since few companies have the budget to be able to create enough original footage for the amount of video content they need for social media. But poorly chosen stock footage can have a detrimental effect, coming across as false, lazy and even insulting.
Yorkshire Water customers were quick to react on social media, and the company has removed the video. Somebody saved it and uploaded it to YouTube for posterity, listing several questionable oversights that anyone paying attention should have noticed before sign off. They included a left-hand drive car, a European electric wall plug and a collection of bras hanging over a bar that turns out to be located in Rosa Khutor, Russia. Yorkshire Water has since had the video removed citing copyright violation.
The environmental campaigner Feargal Sharkey told the BBC: "It underlines the most serious point, once we get past the mild amusement of it all, and that is this laissez-faire, almost casual indifference that water companies, like Yorkshire Water, show towards their customers."
A spokesperson for Yorkshire Water said: "We're aware that stock footage was used in our 'word of mouth' social media campaign teaser video, and have since removed this from our channels."
The last example we saw of a blunder like this was in a Philippines tourism video that featured footage from several other countries.