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.