Old English could have prevented this unfortunate death.
An unexpected but decipherable image draws attention. The reader’s non-conscious mind interprets the unexpected elements and making sense of the image. We figure out what is really happening in the image quickly, effortlessly, automatically. Visual metaphors like this one are just such unexpected images.
We encounter a crime scene photo of a dead body collapsed on the floor. We hesitate because something is off about the picture. The dead body is not human but a coffee table with splayed legs taking the place of limbs. Instead of a lethal wound, we see a stain. The metaphor tells us that a coffee table with a serious stain is like a dead body, beyond redemption. The two words of copy reinforce the metaphor, “Stains kill.”
Fortunately, prevention is at hand. Old English furniture polish could have prevented the stain and saved the table.
We cannot help but interpret the metaphor. In doing so, we tell ourselves the advertiser’s message.
Visual metaphors like this, done right, capture attention, entertain, and lead to the desired inference.