The Mill #16 – Operating with Integrity
You literally swiped the brand recognition from a designer who put their blood, sweat and tears into a project. And then all of a sudden, you’re just like sorry. Okay.
Hi everyone. I’m Taylor Poole. This is Tye Dynda. And this is today’s RMFP, The Mill. So before we kick into what we’re gonna be talking about today, everyone on Instagram live, thank you so much for tuning in. Just so everybody’s aware, as of today, we were submitted into the review process for iTunes and Spotify.
So sometime next week we will have all of these podcasts available on the two major podcasts networks. So you’ll be able to check them out there at your leisure and at your convenience. So pretty exciting. We also have a new website, themillpodcast.com. You can check that out. It went live today, so we’re still making some tweaks and things to that.
There’s four of them by the end of next week, hopefully next week we’ll have all 16. We should have that one on there today too. Well, we’ll see. So, all right today’s podcast. So I ran across an article from a home design magazine that talked about something that Home Depot has been doing for the last week.
So about a week ago, Home Depot launched a new Instagram social media campaign. And what they did without asking is they took certain designers, influencer level designers, Instagram photos of actual houses that they built projects that they were a part of. And then they went in and they swapped out all the finishes and things with their products.
They paid their internal designers to go in and swap out light fixtures and faucets and tile and lots of different things. So you’ve got these roll class custom projects with high-end finishes and without anybody’s consent or permission. They went to these designer pages, hijacking the images that the custom photographer at these places paid for.
Yeah. Paid other designers, and they put it up and it wasn’t just one or two. Like originally when I was reading through the article, I thought maybe it was just one or two specific photos as I started diving through and clicking on these different Instagram pages and these different links. What I ended up realizing was that there were hundreds of these Instagram pictures that were doctored.
Okay. So a couple of days after this place wrote the article, Home Depot came out and apologized and said, we’re going to look into this and see what was going on. Okay. So we’ll get to that in a second, but here’s my issue with that response: it wasn’t one or two?
There were hundreds of them. Okay. I can understand a few. Okay. To me, this seems like it was a proven or a marketing strategy that somebody came up with, it was approved and they executed on that much time behind you. There obviously has to be some chain of command. You had to run that up because that’s a lot of man hours.
If someone can Photoshop and do all that stuff, that’s a lot of man hours. And that’s my thing. For somebody to do our designs, they produce, I dunno, let’s say probably 40 to 50 custom graphics a week. They’re all social graphics, you’re literally looking at probably four or five designers or it’s a single designer for a month.
Yeah, like this thing has just happened overnight. Like it was, it was well-talked about. The site was thought through well. And then what they did is, because Home Depot has the ability to sell products off their page, they went and linked to all the different products and they’re like, ‘hey, you can buy this light for $69.95 and you can buy this faucet for $84’.
With the Instagram feature where you can tag prices and they swap their stuff out and then tack all the other things. Now, before we dive into the. The ethics of this whole thing. So I went and I looked up what the legal ramifications of this could be. And basically it says whether it’s a floor plan from a design standpoint, whether it was a floor plan as a picture, whatever.
Yep. As long as the, the image has been altered by at least 10% where the floor plans have been altered by 10%. Yes. Then there’s no room to sue. There’s no grounds for somebody to push back onto it. So, technically what they did isn’t illegal. No, it’s not illegal, but so now, like that sets it all up.
If you’re watching on Instagram, I would love to know kind of your thoughts, your feelings on the whole thing, but that, that’s kinda the setup of what, what we’re looking at, what we’re talking about. So before I start asking all kinds of wonderful questions, what is your initial take on this?
What’s going through that Adidas poofy hat, beanie, Carhartt wear, and shirt brains. My initial take on it is, well, they knew what they were doing. It’s a large company and what you’re doing at that large of a scale when it includes a couple of hundred, the second part of it. There is a real easy solution to avoid the headache that they are going to deal with because of what happened.
But I also know that what they did wasn’t illegal. So maybe they just said, ‘hey, we can do this’. And as long as we altered X amount of percent and whoever’s in charge didn’t really understand. They just said, sure, go ahead and do it. So to me, in this case, it’s better to ask for permission and do it than to just do it and ask for forgiveness later.
Yeah. Just ask first and get that out of the way, because then maybe some people will like you using it and now, still pushing it out there. But you have to give credit to the photography, to the designer, to whoever posted the photo. Initially you have to do that. And that’s where, yeah, it might not be illegal, but you’re still, you’re still stealing your base concept of what you just did.
You are stealing. And here’s the thing that blows my mind, you got a hundred billion dollar company like Home Depot, how many of those designers would have been just thrilled? Yeah, that’s what I’m saying is just ask, say, Hey, we love what you did. That’s great. can we use this and maybe drop in how we would have done it and redesign it in our image and then, say here’s theirs on one slide.
Here’s ours on another, or even put yours first since that’s what you want to push. But then show what it was, what it was about countless ways that they could have done it. If they just wrote it up there, there’s numerous ways to avoid this whole headache, but they just said, miss wellow, my thing with it is they probably cut it.
I’m sure they’re probably designers and maybe they write these different ones they’re looking at. And they’re like, well, we didn’t want people to charge us for influencer rates or whatever, but Home Depot has a large enough platform. I think most of these places, if they would’ve just asked, it would have been willing to.
So do that, just tag us and say here’s the original or something linked back to the original, whatever, don’t even have a co-branded marketing campaign. It could have been, here’s the one I designed, here’s the one with Home Depot products, right? Like, what you’re saying?
Like they could have changed the design. They could have altered it. They could have tweaked it to actually provide value to both parties. And then it’s not just going out at Home Depot’s page, it is going out multiple places and then you might even pick up some of these designers. A lot of the designers that we work with over at Rocky, they don’t buy things at Home Depot.
Yeah. They don’t, but it can’t feign like this. You can easily find a couple of fairly large influencer level marketers who are gung ho about it, but then maybe even switched some of the products. Yeah. Also a code 409 says it’s the same thing when magazines and websites don’t tag photographers on social media, which yeah, it’s not giving them credit for something they’re using.
Let’s be fair with this. I’ve used photos on the website on accident before on accident that we thought we had the license for. And we did it and I paid a font multiple times. Like it happened exactly like the agency that I was at. We paid fines. As far as I’m aware of Home Depot, there’s like no ramifications again, they changed 10% of it, so they can do that.
But that’s a gray area. You remember the story of Robin Hood? Nope, never once. Like literally enlightening me. This is like the chain and Robin Hood taking people’s hard-earned dollars without asking. I mean, that’s really what it is like, too bad.
There’s not a Robin Hood running around. He can snatch these things back from Home Depot. That’s just not how the internet works though, but it’s insane. You gotta give somebody credit. You have to. Well, yeah. And I’m sure someone will lose their job over this because someone needs to be a scapegoat.
I say some low level dude. That was one of the editors on one of the photos he’s getting fired. Yeah. I looked everywhere, I ran across this article because of another Instagram from a designer. They run another podcast called The Modern Design Mind. You can check it out.
It’s on Spotify, on iTunes. All three designers on this thing actually had some of their images. And so, they’ve tied to the modern craftsman podcasts. These are fairly high level. I think some of these designers have like 50,000 followers. These aren’t necessarily nobody-people like that.
That’s the thing, just because you’re a large company doesn’t mean you’re just allowed to do that. But here’s the whole thing. I found out about it organically when I went and searched and tried to look for all the ruckus with it, I found two articles from the same blog or from the same place.
And it was the place that caught the whole thing. And it was the place where Home Depot submitted their apology. And when I say apology, like I have the quotes, “apology”. Because it was like, we’ll check into the approval, we’ll look into this issue and adjust accordingly.
But see, even I understand what they were going for because they’re taking pictures that are already out there and they’re tweaking pictures and maybe having a bunch of likes. Do you want to know something else they could’ve done? I’m sure they pay for Adobe. Go get pictures on Adobe and Photoshop. Here’s what I wonder though.
I wonder if they ran out or if the pictures that were on Adobe go through this stuff all the time. After a while it starts to get to where there’s not enough, but if they’re changing them at their core, everything’s going to be the same but the fixtures are different, right?
So that would be legal. You could go license the photos off of Adobe and then change the fixtures on there to whatever you want. I did that with granite countertops. Albeit it wasn’t great. It wasn’t good at all. There’s a reason we didn’t use them, but that’s the thing. We bought those photos.
We owned the rights to them. We changed one part of it. They didn’t go anywhere, but why couldn’t they have done that? You can find a hundred bathrooms on Adobe. No, you’re absolutely good. I just, it’s just amazing. You literally swipe the brand recognition from a designer who put their blood, sweat, and tears into a project.
And then all of a sudden you’re just like sorry. And I mean, and they did go delete a handful of the photos. I ended up like the press stuff. But like, if you scroll through and look, they’re still quiet, you can still find them, it’s insane. How many of them were there? How many were there? And it’s just like, I almost guarantee you they’ll be able to get away with this without any ramifications.
Well, if you’ve only found it at two places, not a whole lot of people in the industry care or care enough to write about it or look into it. I just think it was such a small segment of designers that they thought they could get away with it. The only problem is: did you take it from people who are actually influencers?
Like when you steal it from somebody who matters, but now these people are still massively smaller than Home Depot. What they’re doing to try to raise their own stink with it. The only reason I heard about it is because we’re in the industry. We were interesting talking about, but it’s it’s I could see this literally blowing over nothing really happening.
And these images, when you go search for them, they’re actually already indexed into Google. Within a week, there aren’t even Home Depot design concepts and you can find quite a few of them. That’s wild.
And again, to me, it was so much easier to ask. Like then just because what, you got to take an extra three and a half minutes to have a conversation. Hey, I would love to use your photo and put in a few of my fixtures. Okay. Why don’t you like what I did? No it’s not that, we absolutely love what you guys did.
We just want to see the same place with something you can buy from here. Okay. Sure. Go for it. Paying him 30 pounds. How hard is that? Yeah, paint 35, 50 bucks for the post. Yeah. That way you have the right to alter it. Like, like, like, I mean, you’re only talking, let’s see, 200 posts. Are we getting comments over there?
It’s just code 409, again. Think about what a better campaign it would have been if they had been involved, if they would have involved the original instant designers though. And that’s, that’s exactly it, because then it’s being massively talked about by the entire web of people they took from, because those people are obviously gonna mention, Hey, go check out Home Depot’s new posts. They used one of our designs.
The organic impact of that reach comes from everybody’s sharing and tagging each other and reaching out like, how many of those designers. Like, like, ow, grew up in a small town or come from, ow, really basic roots. You’d be like, Hey, every freaking person that I know at Home Depot just gave me love on my design, on my hardware and project.
We check it out. Then the headline reads ‘Home Depot stands out for the little guy’. Not for smaller designers, not for Home Depot robbed and pillaged. And now we know really though, like it there’s a hundred ways they could have done this better from just reaching out to giving credit to just buying your own photos and doing the same exact thing.
I urge people listening and watching, go look these up. You can tell that they’ve been doctored. It’s better than me, but not up to par. Well, you have this beautiful kitchen. Shut up. No, no, hang on. Hang onto your perspectives. Yeah, but you get this beautiful kitchen.
Yeah, all of the hardware on the cabinets are nickel. And the next thing now, from the ceiling, you have two gold lights. You’ve got gold. Don’t fix yours on the sake, just like they don’t look right.
I’m pretty sure the designer came up with this wonderful, beautiful kitchen. Did it mix and match metal finishing metals typically? Don’t go too. Well, I don’t know. There’s a lot of different ways to execute something like this and to come out on top, he chose the one, maybe two different possible routes that might not benefit you at all in any way.
If I’m closed right now. If you’re doing the exact thing we’re talking about that we’re talking about, and I’m going to go find all of the, the 40 plus designers that they still think is right them and say, Hey right, all of them. And they ask to do it and offer to pay them. And then there’s a huge campaign behind $50 bucks, further ads up front.
And I’m literally going to use this whole thing to flip flop it, because now you’ve got so much energy and angst in the system around this specific subject for the people who feel like they got robbed. Yeah, you can literally piggyback in a positive fashion. You can go the other way. Yeah, no, absolutely.
Like there’s zero reason that anyone at Lowe’s is watching this, you’re welcome. I’m literally going to crop. I am going to clip this part out of the video and I’m going to pull it down. I’m going to put it up on Facebook. I’m going to run it against Lowe’s employees on Facebook and on LinkedIn.
And there you go. Merry Christmas. I can go ahead and do that. We’re gonna spend a few hundred dollars just to get this in front of people over at Lowe’s. This would be a great way to earn a little bit of respect within the building community. If you’re against him.
No, not really though. Like ‘hey, your number one competitor just made an oopsie’. You can do right by him. You could go and fix this. Hey, I don’t even do it right. Just do it the right way. Correct way. And then because people are going to want justice for the whole thing, you’ve earned the media off of this.
If Lowe’s goes out and does that, that’s not true that deeds usually get more press. But in this case, I think a good deed would go a long way because it’s going to be shared around a lot more. Well, that’s what I was gonna say in this situation.
Two of the big dogs, the big giants fighting over respect for the little guy. Yeah. I guarantee you. I guarantee you, you could get a national media outlet to actually cover that. Yeah, no, absolutely. ACE can do this too. Hey, this is a weird one though, because it’s, it’s, they’re all franchised.
So, I don’t know exactly how their marketing works. It’s a different deal, but whatever. No, there’s just a whole lot of ways that they could have done it the right way. There’s a lot of ways to still, there’s not a lot of ways to correct this saying, you’re sorry. You’re even going back and paying them now.
I don’t think ‘no, you can’t do that’. All it is is that I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar. Guess I’ll put the cookie back. We’ll put the half-eaten cookie back and here’s a nickel. Yeah, no, that was a bad boy. Here’s a nickel. That’s not how that works.
That’s my thing. Like at most they’re gonna come out and say, they’re sorry, fire somebody, or just say, well, we’ve learned from this and we won’t do it again next time. We’ll ask for permission. Okay. That’s how I see it playing out. Especially if nothing comes of it there. What are they going to do to correct this?
Let me ask you, let’s put it back the other way. How could you take this and correct it and gain the most influence out of it. If you’re Home Depot. What could you do? Well, you’re right. The person you apologize directly to is the person or design firm or whatever it was you did, you apologize directly to them.
You then go back and edit all of your posts and tag the proper people. And if you have to, or you go and repost them all with your doctorate photo and their original photo, but I don’t think that’s enough. That just fixes it. That’s just the band to fix it. How could they take it? And actually spur on the business.
Yeah. I got nothing on that one because I’m looking at a couple of different things that they could do, and none of them are really going to come out ahead. Like I said, I don’t think anything’s going to happen. There might not even be a slap on the wrist. Well, there’s not the most slap on the wrist is a few small places like us talking about it.
I mean, let’s be serious. Like there’s not tons and tons of people like this affected, tens of thousands of people throughout the US, if not, millions. And the tens of thousands of people are in such a niche community. I don’t even know if it’s absolutely a tight-knit community, so how would you do it?
How do you think they come ahead in this? Like I agree with you, you got to ride them on. You got to apologize. You got to offer money to fix the scenario. I know how you do it. You rectify it with something like that. And then what you do is you ask every individual designer, plus you have to find a hundred more that are pissed off.
And you offer a free marketing thing back to them, where you turn it into a legitimate campaign where you hire this person who won an award for this beautiful kitchen, or this was a custom home built by this person. Here’s how Home Depot would change things. And you do like a full here’s the difference.
Here’s a different layout provided by Home Depot. And then tie it right back into them. Yeah. I mean, you can plug them all you want and put a lot of money behind it and have a huge push. This isn’t the dabble, this is like, you would actually have to want to make it up.
You gotta put some money behind it and man hours too. Yeah. I mean, if you’re invested just knowing our marketing dollars, you could take this and spin it around and probably invest $500,000. Maybe a million bucks back into it and you can probably circumvent the whole thing, but you would have to do it.
You’re intense. Gotta be good. Here’s the thing we don’t know. We don’t know about the intent on what it looks like, it was actually like an approved strategy. Getting to do that has to be, but we don’t know for sure. Yeah. But I don’t think one or two rogue Home Depot employees are going to just take off and say, I’m going to do this.
No, I don’t, I just don’t see that happening. I mean, everybody learns your first week of design school, you’re not allowed to steal things. I think you learn that as a child. Yeah. I’m pretty sure you don’t steal, like plagiarism. That’s not okay. Isn’t that one of the 10 commandments too, thou shalt not steal?
Stuff’s textbook or Bible book, whatever. However you want to spin it. It just doesn’t take things that aren’t ears. But the whole thing is like you could take this and literally spin it around and turn it into a large apology. You got another decent sized comment.
Have a contest or have a contest for influencers to design a couple rooms for an ad campaign. Community votes winner gets exclusive feature for a little while, obviously apologizing and paying for the originals. I mean, that would be a good way to do it. It’s not a bad hit all the different 40 or 50 or however many.
Well, plus other outside ones that way. It’s not just the people that, and he did a few hundred, there’s probably a few hundred more safe than somebody’s hard drive up there. And he took like, you might as well. Yeah. They haven’t edited them yet. Like it’s no, really though, just an interesting thing.
The gal was in the modern design mind, they were talking through it and they were just like the design community. So Tye, the reason I found this was because people were scrolling through their newsfeed and they were like, I’ve been in that kitchen, that’s Amber’s kitchen.
And they were like, those fixtures aren’t in there. I know that photo. So they took screenshots and they wrote to their friends and they were like, hey, this is your kitchen. And that those aren’t your fixtures. And they were like, no, they did it. It was like, it was kind of a funny thing. Like, like the only reason they got caught was because the designers well, because people recognize it.
People recognize what other people have done. They put their blood, sweat, and tears into what they find. I mean, we’ve got designers at work, and just designing social graphics and things for the website and stuff. And they spend a lot of time making corrections on those things, sometimes it’s hard for them to make those adjustments.
Like they do care about what they’re doing, like our writers at work. Like they care about all of the blogs and the articles and things that we write. We put up all the time, there’s some heart and soul that goes into the artistry of what they do. And it’s interesting, sorry, like this building just shook.
I don’t remember. It was either a semi or I’m not really sure. A few moments later. And like some of these kitchens were like award-winning kitchens. Like it wasn’t even necessarily just like a fancy project, just a one-off, like, hey, we redid this kitchen. This part was hilarious. So they’re talking like I went through and I was looking at this and they’ve got the different photos with the different fixtures and whatever else that they swapped out.
And then there were people on there asking them, they were like, what tile did you use on the back wall for the backsplash? It wasn’t their tile. It was one of them . They couldn’t respond. And then there were some things where you could tell that, that they were responding and they’re like it was this.
And then you look at the two and you’re like, that’s not the same thing. Like, there’s one way it backfires a little things. I get such a kick out of it when people actually ask, they’re like, What floor did you use? What cabinets did you use? And they’re like, they’re tagging up these things that are definitely lower quality products.
And you’re looking at the two photos and you’re like, no, that’s a custom cabinet.
Yeah. That one, that one’s one. There’s just one example. Why maybe you shouldn’t do that. Like what. Because you’re going to get comments on things. That’s the point of Instagram, especially if you’re showing off a kitchen or a design or anything like that, people are going to ask questions. This isn’t rocket science here.
It’s just how the platform works. That’s how it really is, any social media and not the goal, like to get engagement. Yes. And, but you have to have the answer to have an answer and be able to tell them exactly what it is. Yeah. What’s that title? Yeah, we don’t offer that, but here’s what we do offer. No, but it wasn’t even you can’t do that.
It was as though they used this tile and you look at the two and you’re like, that’s clearly a two by two inch square and the one that they linked up is for a four inch square. Yeah. Like you can’t because you can’t admit like we don’t know. Like you can’t, you just can’t do that. Well, and then some of the photos actually saw it, some of the ones where I went back and I snapped over to the originals and it was like someone that had like these real high-end light fixtures, like thousand dollar light fixtures, and they swapped them out with things that were $89.
So you have these strips with three different lights coming down, they were the same style. I haven’t seen a picture, but you got a kitchen that you can tell us is custom. Some of these are $9,000 custom homes, and then we’re going to put it in there with the same type of things that are getting put in track homes.
It was like, hang on a second. Something’s out of place.
If anyone has a company and they’re thinking, hey, maybe we can do that. Just, just ask for permission first. If you’re going to redesign someone else’s hard work, ask first, explain why you want to do this. They want you to do it. They’ll say, okay. If not, they say, hey, give me $35. Well, if it’s worth it to you, give them $35.
How easy it would have been for them to run the sharing apps that you can download to your phone to share other people’s Instagram posts. Yes. It would have been, they probably could have gotten away with it if they shared the other person’s image and said as, as picture one tag them.
Well, even if you just share the whole thing, cause that links right back to the page. Yeah. And, and then literally went, here’s our take on it. And here’s what you can do with Home Depot stuff. Like they could’ve gotten away with it. No, that’s fine because it’s still giving people credit.
I mean, once again. Like here’s an example. We built our fancy wall for our podcast. We have two of them. We got one here. We got one back at the shop. We’re at Tradecraft Industries and filming every Thursday. But we built it out of things that we carry out of things that I can tell you about teaching you about.
You can understand if you have questions on anything like these are our actual process. Even the sign, we made the sign. Like we did all the different things. Like now this table isn’t ours, but I know about it. Cause I asked about it and then I asked where it came from. Like it’s very simple to be authentic and honest and true.
Looks like we got a couple more questions. People joining. Well that’s good. Hello. A few waves. People joining. How are you? Sitting here Thursday afternoon. It was going well. They seem well. That’s a good thing. They left, there’s a few still in there. I can see there’s two. Forgot about that part.
It’s been snowing out here in Denver for the last couple of days. It’s cold, but it’s fair. It’s very cold. It’s not as cold now. It’s not as cold as it was yesterday. Well, the people in the Midwest, like last week or whatever, it was negative seven this morning. Okay. But it wasn’t negative 36.
Well, yeah, I’d have worked from home. So. All right. I think we’ve beat that conversation to death. Yeah. I always ask permission when doing anything related to sharing stuff that’s not yours or just taking people on. Yeah. I would still ask permission first because if they say no, go find someone else’s say, it’s really that easy.
It’s the internet. You can find anything you want and you can find it in a good number of things. At least give people credit. If they want you to take it down and you take it down, but you give them credit. You give them love. People like love and like free love. Like it’s amazing.
It goes back to intent 10 all the time. It’s just the intent, whether you’re trying to do the right thing or not. If you’re trying to be lazy and get through, just get it done. Okay. Taking the extra 10 seconds. I think this is a good enough article that we might actually write our own article on this.
Might as well. Yep. I think it’s the thing. I guess the last thing before we wrap up this whole thing is what’d you think about the Super Bowl on Sunday? It was awful. It was so bad. Pretty good defensive game. Yeah. No, if you like defense, you sure like defense and special teams, it was great.
No, I will say I do have to say one thing, because at one point they went on and they said, Hey, you can go on and vote for the MVP. Okay. I recently started following Pat McAfee on some different things. And he was joking around about how he was going to go vote for a punter. So I was like, well, shoot, I’ll go vote for a punter.
If the Rams one, the only person that could have been the MVP was Hecker. Yeah, exactly. Period. No, hang on though. So I jumped the line to look probably very similar to when Pat McAfee did, because it wasn’t very much very much longer before I solved this in voting for the punter for the MVP.
Wasn’t even an option. There was no one on the Patriots defense up for MVP. Yeah. It was like, it was Brady, Gronk, and Edelman. Hang on in a game when it’s all defensive, all special teams. Yeah. We can’t book for a punter. I was like, yeah. I was like that’s totally against some, I don’t know what you want.
Hecker had like 10 punts in that game and had the super bowl record. He was the MVP of the game for the Rams. What do you call it? Like positional racism. I don’t know who to call.
Where are you laughing? We got a boring and crappy halftime show. Boring commercials. Big alpha for the NFL brand? No, there were like all the commercials pretty much stunk. Why would you spend $5 million on something? It was more than that, actually.
I think it was six and a half this year. Yeah. I dunno. The Doritos added a bubbly ad where I looked them up, they were, they were 5.5 or 5.2 for 36. Well, I was going to say a lot of these commercials are actually a minute y’all they were, yes. A lot of the commercials are for a minute. All right.
Yeah. you got anything else to add? The Super Bowl sucks. It’s a different bowl. Home Depot, maybe you’ll change it. Lowe’s, look out for your clip, because I’m totally going to create that tag for you, and I’m going to market it to all your fans please. And maybe I’ll give you guys a free marketing idea. Take it or leave it, do with it what you will.
All right. So other than that, I’m Taylor Poole, that’s Tye Dynda, and that was today’s RMFP, The Mill.