MOST ADS INVITE YOU INTO
THE SITUATION--AT LEAST EMOTIONALLY
In this Inflate-A-Bed ad, it's hard to avoid looking at
the woman since she takes up so much space. But she is not doing the
usual pretending that most ad models do. This time she is looking
back at you--to show she knows you are looking.
That automatically makes you likely to become much more
conscious of your looking. The same as what happens in real life when
someone notices that you looking at them.
How unnatural this situation is. You don't know her.
Yet she stretches out mostly nude before you. Her looking back makes
you more conscious that you are looking at her.
But her look back is matter of fact. Not inviting, but
not off-putting either. She is there and in a way you are there too
because you have to look at her while you're looking for the product.
Considering her position, she doesn't seem self-conscious. But are
Look again. This time not at her. Is there any sign
that this Inflate-A-Bad is being advertised as a product to sleep on?
Pillow? Sheet? Blanket? Those missing items--and her nudity--bring
in a sexual message. That would be minimized if she was wearing bulky
pajamas, under a blanket, with her head on a pillow. But she
But what's this have to do with faces? Well, she is
conscious of the fact that you are looking in at her--and that
creates a feeling in you of self-consciousness.
But what about the person in there with her?
Look in the upper left hand corner of the ad (always a
key place in any ad). At the end of the word 'dreamer' are some dots.
Why are they there? Some are arranged as if eyes.
Along with the leaves above, they appear to create a
bit of a face peeking from behind the bush. It's another looker,
behind her, who she doesn't seem at all aware of.
If so, this ad, in a few seconds, puts us in the
psychological position of not only watching her watching us, but only
at the price of also semi-consciously seeing the possibility of
another watcher watching.
And if so, that raises the feeling, at a very low
level of awareness, that she is much more exposed than when it's just
you looking at her.
Also at a low level of awareness, it can raise an
uneasy feeling that maybe her situation is much less safe than it
seems to be, that she is less in control than she appears to be.
But, most important, it allows the viewer, who is
already, at a conscious level, looking at her and getting a certain
look in return, to imagine, at a less conscious level, that we are
the other watcher, who is not getting that non-attractive
matter-of-fact look, and so is much more psychologically in control
of the woman's situation.