There is no question that one of the new holiday ads from Best Buy entitled “Gifts That Do: Instagram” — is an inspiring piece featuring an uber-talented 13-year-old photographer named Claire Jantzen.
But I unwittingly stumbled upon some interesting details lurking under the surface of this smartphone ad that caused me to take a much closer look.
While the heartbeat of this story focuses on Claire's amazing Instagram photos that came about because her Mom gifted the young artist a smartphone — it was the Motorola handset featured on screen that made me suspicious of the ad.
Since every picture tells a story, I dug into this young photographer's online Instagram website and noticed the very first images posted dated back to November 2011 — iPhone 4S launched in October of 2011. Instagram didn't become available on Android devices until some five months later on April 3, 2012.
In fact, Instagram coming to Android was pretty huge news for non-iPhone users who were finally able to join a community that was exclusive to iPhone since the iOS app originally launched in October 2010.
Suspecting that Best Buy might be taking some “artistic liberties” in this ad, I reached out to Claire Jantzen myself via email and inquired about her smartphone of choice and asked exactly how she captures her exceptional photographs.
An extremely nagging question I had to get answered since she's shown in the commercial several times shooting with what looks like a new Motorola Razor — leading viewers to an obvious conclusion.
While I really wasn't too shocked by her answer, you should know that Claire is very quick to reveal that she primarily shoots the bulk of her work on a Canon 60D, 18-Megapixel DSLR camera.
She speaks of it often in the comments she writes back to fans who've sought her out after the Best Buy ad began to air on national television.
You can winess several commenter's asking her straight out about it, expressing their own healthy disbelief that her images could not be captured simply by using a smartphone — even when a few of her early Instagram images included the hashtag #iphoneography on them.
After Claire captures photos on her digital SLR, I'm guessing selected shots are put onto her iPhone and then uploaded to Instagram — cropping them into the standard square format. I aksed Claire if she adds additional Instagram filters once she uploads her photos through the app.
“No I keep them as is usually beyond posting.” says Claire.
So the true story behind Claire's ad is that this 13-year-old Instagram sensation is definitely the real deal — but the camera she uses to snap those epic Instagram photos... not so much.
Even with such glaring truth blinding my eyes, there's still so much to love about the photography of Claire Jantzen — it's authentic, inspired and often outright brilliant for a girl her age.
Since Best Buy actually sells the Canon 60D, maybe the wrong camera was chosen to feature in this ad, or maybe not, since Instagram was used as the hook. I could easily concede that all is fair in love and adverstising — but I won't.
Now that I know an iPhone was really used as an accomplice to Claire's wonderful work and not some Motorola handset, I'll sleep far better tonight.
For everyone else — I'm going to guess that you couldn't even care less.