A picture creates a thousand feelings

Just imagine how Lord Sugar felt when he personally wrote out a cheque for £58,646,028.44. Of course that’s what he intended you to do when he posted this picture of his 2016 tax return cheque, (in a tweet to Jeremy Corbyn to make a point that some of the wealthy do contribute quite a bit to the economy).

I’m not going to make any political comment, (although I suggest that his lordship might want to turn off his geo-locator when posting from Santa Margherita Ligure: or maybe that’s deliberate too, highlighting he’s still able to take a decent holiday despite his payment to HMRC?), but I do want to share a lesson from this tweet that’s very powerful – the clever use of imagery.

If the tweet had simply stated “I paid £58million in tax last year” I doubt it would have had anything like the impact, despite being a staggering amount for one year’s tax. Seeing the cheque, handwritten and personally signed, really brings it to life.

Of course clever advertisers have known this for years. Although the origin is disputed, the phrase, “a picture is worth ten thousand words”, (attributed to ad man Frederick Barnard, quoted in ‘Printer’s Ink’ in 1927), is but an adaptation of an old Chinese expression: “Hearing something a hundred times isn’t better than seeing it once” – this knowledge has been around for a long time.

However, it’s a lesson many businesses have yet to learn as evidenced by their cramming pages and pages of text into a website when a single picture can be much more powerful instead. You can use thousands of words to say how good/popular/in demand you are or you can use a single image as these examples illustrate:


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