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.

Where's the fifth?

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 drinker.

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 whom.

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