Take a look at this image. What do you see? Can you guess what the ad is selling? I cut this image out of the whole, so it's not obvious, but it's for a car. You can see the wheels above the little boy's head. The little boy who's sitting on steps above and away from the couple posing for a picture; possibly they've just bought the car or are at an event where cameras are out snapping pictures.
In collecting and selling these vintage ads from the "magical" Mad Men days of the 1950s and 1960s, I find a lot of these almost sublime...to me...twists within the ads. I'm sure some real officianado could explain it; likely to do with the underlying message of being part of the group or missing out, but I like to think they didn't put a lot of thought into every aspect of these ads' photos. This kid probably showed up outside the set and the producer said, 'Hey, kid, wanna' make a hard buck the easy way?" or something like that.
The kid, I think, didn't say anything or smile. Just walked over and took direction then went where they pointed to sit. Now just a prop, he's ignored and the photographer snaps a few pictures; cut and done.
But what if he's not some off center non-essential? I don't have the training and understanding to see it, but what if ad-guys placed these 'props' in here to make the buyer feel more drawn in and consider buying the car?
My first reaction is that he's pouting a bit and feels left out; pushed aside. Is he their child? Or a child of another couple that just happen to be sitting there? What is he thinking about?
There is a comical side to this as well. Why would they pose him in such a way? The obvious response is he's not welcome in the pose, but may have been shooed away and the photographer oblivious snaps the picture. I doubt it, but it at once evoked questions and a tither when I saw it at first.