Here’s Why Where Models Look Makes A Huge Difference

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Models can influence how people respond to them in extremely subtle ways.

Sometimes it’s as simple as changing the direction of their gaze.

Take the Sunsilk shampoo ads that are pictured on the right. In one, the model is looking at the audience, and in the other, she stares at the bottle.

Heatmaps overlaying the images, generated using eye-tracking technology, reveal exactly where people were looking while viewing the ads.

When the model’s eyes were on the product, viewers’ eyes were on the product, too — and on the headline and name of the brand. These elements, important for making sales, got ignored when the model was looking at the audience.

Business Insider asked Craig Mikes, executive director at Proof Advertising, to explain why.

“The model looking at the product creates a sense of flow for the viewer,” Mikes said. “It also negates the creepy model staredown that is happening in the other ad, so you can draw more attention to the headline.”

According to Mikes, it’s not impossible to create effective ads featuring direct eye contact from models. It all depends on what the ad is trying to accomplish.

Take the People Looking campaign for Wonderbra, for instance. The ads, less straightforward than Sunsilk’s, require a shift of perception on the viewer’s part.

Here, the models are still gazing at the product, but this time the viewer is the one wearing it.

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Wonderbra 1