This advertisement is visually striking, and the reasons for this become apparent when it is analyzed in terms of the various elements that make up the ad. Contrary to what many believe about effective advertising, the primary color in this ad is black. Black is not simply the background of the photograph, as it might be if the ad were selling jewelry; black is an integral part of the picture. Although we cannot see the sky, we know that the sky is black. We have only the sailboat and its distorted reflection to provide the visual clue of the water, but we know that the sailboat is on water, and that the water is black from the night. Black is thus an element, and not a background element, in this advertisement.
In addition, this is not an ad that combines a photograph of the product with a separate text block; instead, the ad consists of a single full-page photograph with full bleed. The photo shows a sailboat at night at Christmas timeùthe time of year is discerned by the holiday lights on the sailboat's rigging. The time of day is determined by the black sky and the lights of the boats and buildings in the background. If a text block had been used underneath or above the photo, the impact of the photo would have been dramatically reduced. By allowing the picture to spread to the outside of the page through the bleed, and by using text exceedingly sparingly, the designers of this ad made the text far more powerful, and the image far more memorable.
The ad also makes excellent use of symmetry. The ad is cut in half by the surface of the water and the reflection of the boat in the water. The buildings are also reflected in the water, but it is the sailboat imagesùboth actual and reflectedùthat dominate the ad.
The ad makes good use of its text, as well. Only three words appear in the entire ad, which makes them all the more powerful. The first is the brand nameùNauticaùplaced in the lower r