If a magazine ad was
three-dimensional, you would probably notice things sticking out (in
the foreground) before you notice things in the background. You would
notice large things before you noticed small. You would notice light
things before you noticed dark.
In this ad, the product is in the
foreground--in three versions: the bottle and big mixed drink and....
The ad is designed so you read it in a loop. It funnels your
attention from the bottle at the left, to the four people in the
background, then back to the glasses in the foreground.
The design draws your eye past
the bottle to the white (bright) post. Once we are to the post, our
attention lands on the woman in front of the post. The, because she
is leaning over with her arm extended, we follow that plast the guy
looking at us to the other woman's light sweater.' It isn't as bright
as the post, but it leads us to the drinks.
Did you notice there are only
three glasses in the foreground? But there are four people, so
where's the fourth drink. In the hand of the man in the checked shirt
who appears to be the center of everyone else's attention. It's
directly above the rear glass in the foreground. This is more obvious
when the ad is not shrunken to fit this page.
Notice that while they all
appear to be looking at him, he is looking over the drinks, past the
bottle, out at us.
So, actually, the way the ad is
designed, the magazine reader is really the last stop on the loop.
The ad viewer should have the fifth drink, which cannot be seen
because it is out here with us, in what we could call the
super-foreground. For example, your own hand is always in the
super-foreground if you are looking at something a few feet away, as
the bottle and drinks in this ad are.
Fifth. Did you remember that the
word 'fifth' is used to describe a specific bottle size? That bottle
size is often associated as being the size carried around by the
solitary drinker, the alcoholic, the drunk, not by the social
That shouldn't surprise us. If
the magazine reader at first seems to be invited in by the man's look
to be fifth person in this little movie, the truth is that the reader
cannot really become part of this group, even though he or she might
secretly yearn to be.
Look more closely at the
foursome. We might think of them as two couples. But if so, which two
are the couples? Look more closely at who is looking at