Same photo, three different names, and three different ads for three different products. Does this make you suspicious?
Update: September 12, 2017. I heard from the REAL Simon Greig. Details below.
Originally Posted June 20, 2016. Revised and re-posted June 2, 2018.
Not only is our mystery man a busy engineer for three different companies, he is a builder. This is one busy guy!
I found all of this when I was checking out a photography company that has a reputation for questionable business practices based on the reviews and complaints I have read (more about that in Don’t get ripped off!). The implied German engineer for the company is “Simon Greig, Lead Technologist (Stuggart)”. A google Image Search turned up a lot more photos of this guy.
One thing we know about this guy from the internet is that his image shows up for sale at several stock photo agencies. So the first logical conclusion we can draw is that this person has done some modelling, and therein lies the tale. The companies in question used the same stock photo and gave our model different names and different job titles. Either that or this person is the hardest working, most creative person on the planet, using three names for three jobs (not counting his fourth job as as builder and his fifth job as a model). Must be exhausting.
And he is versatile enough to come up with a number of different looks.
I looked up the photographer on Shutterstock (a stock photo agency where you can buy photos to use) and his name is, get this, Simon Greig.
The real Simon Greig, photographer.
This isn’t new of course. I covered the story of the same nurse who is working in seven different countries. Well, not really. Her photo was used to illustrate articles in seven different countries, and she is probably a model, not a nurse.
It isn’t unusual or necessarily unethical for companies to buy a stock photo to use as an “illustration” in an ad. It happens all the time.
But it does seem strange to me to take a stock photo, give the person the appearance of a real name and a real job title and claim he is the engineer that designed your product. Especially if no online record of an engineer in Stuttgart with that name seems to exist. (There is a real engineer with the name Simon Greig but he isn’t in Stuttgart and he looks nothing like the mystery man in our ads.)
Don’t blame the photographer who took the photo, or the model, or the stock photo agency who sold the photo. It is the company that uses the photo that is responsible for how ethically it is used.
Anything can happen on the internet, and often does. People will post most anything to sell you something. Like a set of smart phone lenses for over $100 that you can buy at Walmart or Amazon for less than $10. But to fool you into paying $100 they will tell you the lenses were designed by a German engineer and are the finest in the world. They aren’t. If you are suspicious, you should be.
Update: September 12, 2017. I received a nice email from the REAL Simon Greig. He is the photographer that took the photo of our mystery man who appears in all these ads. The model in the photo is not a German engineer. His name is not Cory Brown or Simon Greig or Daniel Cowen or Alex Pulatani. None of this is a surprise.
As I said when I first wrote this article, it is not the photographer’s fault if someone buys one of his photos from a stock agency (or outright steals it from somewhere on the internet) and makes up a fake identity for the face and puts it in an ad/article. The blame rests with the company who posted the ad and made up the identity.
Apexel Set of Four Camera Phone Lenses – One of the sets of lenses I bought at Amazon to test cheap, poor quality Chinese lenses.