What I call the disturbing element is one detail
(or more) that just doesn't fit. But, at first, the viewer does not
consciously notice the mis-fit. Instead he or she just feels uneasy,
without realizing what's causing it. Most people don't look more
closely, as you will. Let me show you a brief example. What if the
third sentence had said: "Instead she or he just feels uneasy,
without realizing what's causing it."
Notice that reading the 'she' first, instead of the
'he' will cause a moment of unease in many readers, because they
don't EXPECT the 'she' to come first. That's an example of a small
detail that, in an ad, could be a disturbing element. It would cause
a heightened, but defocused sense of alertness, like a moment of
Notice, it is alertness without awareness. That
heightened moment of alertness without awareness is a key element
that advertisers want to build into those few seconds of exposure to
a magazine ad.
Having such a reaction, many are left with what
psychologists call a lack of closure., a feeling that
something's missing. Closure feels like nothing is missing. Nothing
is left to be noticed. Closure allows you to feel ease and so put
something in storage, out of your (conscious) mind.
However, lack of closure, a lack of completeness,
haunts you, brings things back to mind--again and again. That tells
you how valuable lack of closure in ads can be.
Closure is the sense that everything fits, no loose
ends--completion. Case closed. Closure calms and reassures. Lack of
closure always leaves that psychological door hanging open--a story
with a missing middle, or no ending.
There are real-life examples of NO closure. The murder
of the little 'beauty queen' Jon-Benet Ramsey, with no official
suspect and no-one arrested, tried and punished. All loose ends. The
same with the car-crash death of Princess Diana. For several years
the O.J. Simpson murder case offered no closure--and for some people,
even after two trials, there still is no closure. The story seems
unending. They don't FEEL they have the whole answer yet.