Smize with those eyes!

“Smize”, a term coined by super model Tyra Banks, encourages people to smile with their EYES.

I bet many of you don’t realize that you don’t have to literally smile to express that you’re happy. You can do it through your eyes. Portraying emotions in your eyes is a subtle yet impactful non-verbal cue. The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction.

I chanced upon this video during Sociology class and I thought it was interesting to see how Tyra Banks demonstrate “smizing” in various ways and that every model should be equipped with this skill.



It is true to a large extent as commercial models make use of non-verbal communication to make a special connection with the audience, Aside from eye contact, non-verbal cues also consist of body movements, posture, gestures and even the tone of the voice. Print advertisements can be tricky to capture audience’s attention where there are no words being verbalized from the mouth itself. They also lack elements like body motion and tone of the voice. Thus to make a print advertisement influential, it depends on how the advertisers play up on the other elements.

Some print advertisements are pretty straightforward in its non-verbal communication. Take for instance, F&N Fruit tree Collagen Plus advertisement.

With one look, the audience can tell that the advertisement is trying to promote the radiance that comes out within oneself from the collagen intake in the drink. I am not exactly a fan of straightforward advertisements as I feel they can be quite cheesy and overused.

On the contrary, there are some print advertisements that are not so straightforward in their non-verbal communication, especially advertisements from high-end brands. There is usually a theme to it which triggers your mind to think about the story behind the advertisement.

I personally like Gucci advertisements as they always have a story behind them and this makes it more exciting to look at.

The Gucci advertisement for its fragrance, “Flora by Gucci” has an emotional appeal to it. Although analyzing such an abstract advertisement is pretty subjective, I feel that the model’s facial expression highlights that the dreaminess and attractiveness a woman would feel after using this fragrance. The idea of dressing the model to resemble like a flower moving in wind is brilliant as it also portrays the floral notes found in the perfume itself.

This unspoken aspect of non-verbal communication makes it an intriguing and mysterious way of communicating. Next time when you interact with people, be sure to notice their eyes, facial expressions and body gestures! You never know what you would find out.


17 thoughts on “Smize with those eyes!

  1. I have to agree with you regarding ads which don’t come off as too hard-sell. I like my ads to have a story and meaning behind it, it actually draws my attention to the way the brand or the product is portrayed. It is as though the product is selling confidence or sex appeal all in one bottle of perfume, which to me, is genius. And good marketing..

    • yanhan says:

      Yeah tell me about it! I love it when the advertisement leaves me thinking about it and making me figure out what it exactly means. 🙂 Now that, would be a good advertisement to me.

  2. weirukoh says:

    Haha, this is an interesting read. Yes I agree with you that in print advertisements where verbal communication is absent, it is important to play up the various elements of non-verbal communication in an appropriate fashion, so as to successfully persuade consumers to engage in their services or purchase their products.

    Of course, other than print advertisements, the role of NVC in our everyday lives should not be neglected too. While VC may be the most direct way of getting our messages across to others, our NVC will certainly be useful in aiding us get our truest message across. In fact, it is probably unsurprising to hear that NVC is actually valued over VC as the most effective way to guess a person’s true emotions. This is so as most people are able to control their words much more effectively than their actions. Hence, like what you’ve suggested, I agree that it is important to observe people’s gestures and behavior carefully when interacting with them. 🙂

    • yanhan says:

      It’s really hard not to neglect the non-verbal communication cues in our lives! Especially when you are talking to someone face to face and that person is just right smack in your face, and you can see every action of his/hers. But then again, some people might be oblivious and ignorant to their surroundings…

  3. reeohnah says:

    I agree. The lack of non verbal cues in print ads sometimes makes it harder to convince consumers to buy the products. Usually print ads uses heavier makeup and better lightings to portray a certain element. But it is the structure of the ads that will attract attention.

    • yanhan says:

      Yeah I agree that external factors such as lighting and makeup are just elements to ENHANCE the advertisement. It’s what the substance really counts! And some advertisements just lack that appeal.

  4. Tammy Ye says:

    i love the Gucci ad! Honestly I don’t even think that the model is THAT pretty but the way she floats and flows in the advertisement (and of course with what she’s wearing), she makes it look so pretty. Girls can learn a few things from these ads, like floating like the wind~ Anyway, personally, I use non verbal communication more than verbal communication! If I don’t like something or someone, I let my actions show, and people get the hint pretty often. :p

    • yanhan says:

      Yep, I agree! But some people might not interpret the model to be a flower, I guess both of our interpretations are pretty similar 🙂

      I am very much like you too! Sometimes you are afraid to show your emotions through words, your defense mechanism (non-verbal cues) just acts up unknowingly. I guess that’s just how we work.

  5. Irving says:

    Our eyes are indeed the windows to our soul. The author of this passage has competently elucidated how some professionals deliberately use their eyes or other non-verbal cues to convey a smile or an emotion through an advertisement. An example of such professionals are models. In addition to this, I would love to highlight the usefulness of those instances when people unintentionally convey emotions via non-verbal cues.

    Unintentional body language cues help criminal detectives tremendously. Have you wondered how Patrick Jane, the genius detective in the popular series The Mentalist, always seems to ask the right people the right questions? As a result, the truth is elicited and the mastermind is unmasked. The secret is in the body language of his suspects. For example, if a suspect suddenly folds his arms or hides his hands under the table during an interrogation, it may signal that he is feeling uncomfortable.Though that does not necessarily mean that suspect is guilty, at least Patrick knows that he should probe the suspect further. For the truth. In fact, body language is viewed with such importance that some officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation are strongly recommended to study it during their career. Criminals beware.

    • yanhan says:

      That is an interesting perspective you brought up there Irving! I love watching those crime busting series like NCIS and Criminal Minds, they really show different murderers and culprits and how they act during interrogation. it really is hard lying through the eyes.

  6. Chloe Tan says:

    The success of an advertisement to me depends on how well the advertisement attracts me to want to take another second glance at it. I love the Gucci Flora advertisement too as it portrays how feminine the fragrance is.

    In addition, I adore Louis Vuitton (LV) abstract advertisements even though I don’t understand what the advertisement is trying to say. But the LV advertisement has this depth to it that makes one want to peer into it more to see what exactly the message it’s trying to put across. =)

    • yanhan says:

      Yes! Even though we audience don’t know how a Gucci Flora smells like, can actually envision it to be light, breezy and sweet smelling through its advertisement. My exact sentiments on Louis Vuitton advertisements! Especially the one with Madonna 🙂

  7. Sarah Marlena says:

    The marketing arena that we live in today is vastly different from that of a decade ago. In the past, show-and-tell advertisements were all marketers utilised to sell their offering. Today, we see a new crop of marketers who are increasingly aware of the need to tap on all five senses of their consumers.

    Here’s where non-verbal communication comes into play. Offering a consumer a swab of perfume and distributing cans of red bull are examples of marketers taking a step back and letting their target markets experience their products first hand. When one enjoys the product and decides to adopt it, this leads to greater credibility on the part of the marketer and greater satisfaction on the consumer’s end as well.

    Therefore, sometimes less really is more. Marketers, have the confidence to let your product talk the talk and walk the walk.

    • yanhan says:

      Hello Sarah! I agree with your last sentence. Marketers need to know that us audience have common sense and that straightforward advertisements are really too overused. One that leaves an impact would definitely be the one that leaves us hanging, the one leaves us thinking about it.

  8. alysiaub says:

    I agree with you about the Gucci ad and about how non-verbal cues make communication intriguing and mysterious. Personally, I think non-verbal cues are extremely effective in advertisements. Just from your post, I would think the Gucci one would be way more effective than the Fruit Tree ad, for the very fact that the latter is way too straightforward.

    In my opinion, ads that are straightforward have a disadvantage because they come off too strong and they make no attempt to capture the audience’s emotions which I feel are pretty vital to an effective advertisement. For me, I tend to be much more guarded and critical when it comes to a straightforward ad and hence much less responsive to it. Perhaps if I’m not the only one in this, advertisers should start getting the hint! 🙂

    • yanhan says:

      I believe that emotional appeal really plays a big part in an advertisement! Because it can really let the audience visualize the experience and let them be involved with the product that the advertiser’s trying to promote.

  9. mervinlim says:

    Hello! Different advertisement uses different form of communication techniques to reach out to it’s target audience. Most ads would want to capture the audience’s attention, then leave then in suspense, making them want to buy/try out the product for themselves.

    Well, a good example on how non-verbal communication is used is usually seen the the form of poses, where mimicking the pose would bring a common understanding of it’s meaning – The Rock (WWE) does his raised eyebrow pose.

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