Ad Hoc

Welcome to Ad Hoc, our newest feature on the art of advertising. We are proud to welcome Dr. Richard Zakia as the author of this page each month.

This ad appeared in the March 2009 issue of Elle magazine. The first thing we notice is the unusual, crumpled, fashionable dress and the modelís gaze, which takes us outside of the frame. What might she be looking at and thinking?

In her partially opened mouth, she holds something that is the same warm color as her dress. So that we do not miss the advertiserís name, her finger discreetly points to bebe as her hand suggestively lifts her dress.

I asked a few of my friends what they thought of the ad and crumpled dress. A few were surprised by it and wondered if any woman would wear such a dress. One thought it was quite a provocative design style. The most interesting response was that it looked like a nearsighted gynecologist had designed it.

Regarding Dr. Zakia's Caress interpretation last month, a visitor writes: "Your Ad Hoc contribution is amazing! I did not see how subliminal the ad was until you wrote about it. That's why it is subliminal. Corinne's web site is a work of art and has so many paths it would take hours to travel them. Creative and generous and a public service."

Richard D. Zakia is Professor Emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology and author/coauthor of several books on photography, perception, semiotics and advertising.

c. Corinne Whitaker 2009

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