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 you?

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 isn't.

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.


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