Normally you are not consciously aware of the key ingredient that makes magazine ads work. It's so obvious that you miss it. The key ingredient is the act of looking. The looking of someone within the ad. And, of course, your looking.

Ads invite you to look, expect you to look, require you to look--or they can't work.

Looking and being looked at are powerful emotional experiences. Connecting your feelings or emotions to products is what ads are all about.

Pictures on covers, as ads, or elsewhere in magazines and newspapers ( or tv) , can be divided into five key groups based on persons and looking:

1. Pictures with no person depicted in them at all (except you the viewer)

2. Pictures with no person depicted in them, but where a person's past or future presence is being suggested by certain details

3. Pictures with a person depicted as looking at something, but not at you, and who doesn't seem to notice you looking at them

4. Pictures with a person who looks at you--and you are conscious of it

5. Pictures with a person who looks back--but you aren't conscious of it

Ads work at two levels: conscious and unconscious. The specific content of an ad may send a strangely conflicting message which aims at your less conscious awareness while making you very conscious of something else.

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