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.

“Soft light, Soft color, Soft Kisses…” (What else, we might ask...) Below this headline we read “And the softest skin.” The prominent color in the ad is a delicate feminine pink. The gigantic letter S is close to the large X on the model’s back made by the black straps of her dress. According to the well established gestalt law of proximity, we naturally group the S and the X and get SX (A two letter word for a three letter word). The letters were used some years back for products such as the Polaroid SX70 cameras.

Another look at the romantic photograph suggests a possible body with a nipple just to the left of the model's left arm. To the right we might notice that her right arm is narrower and straight and thrust into her black dress. Was all this intended? Was any of this seen when it was first viewed?

Regarding our Dior ad last month, a viewer writes: "I really like the new Ad Hoc feature, but there is SO MUCH MORE to be said about this ad!...Look at the placement of the word DIOR and how the "I" falls right in the center of her body. Women are so often portrayed with accoutrements that suggest wild beasts. What animal is the skin of the purse? It's not a giraffe!

Thanks again for all the great work you do -- on the website, on your art, and more!"

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

Be sure to email with your comments about Ad Hoc.