The fact that we have the ability to choose and focus on one thing over another is what makes us human. Relating this to class, I think the world of advertising challenges us to really view what's important to us and what we want to focus on when receiving a million messages a day. When looking through a magazine, various people will focus on different things - some will focus on the actual articles, some will look at the photos and some might be interested in only the advertisements. This article also reminded me of Jean Kilbourne's video where females of different age, race, backgrounds and levels of self-esteem may look at advertisements and give attention (some times too much attention) to the message and believe they "need" or "must have" that product, service or outcome. But how do you teach a child to focus their attention on the positive images and messages? What makes one girl see an advertisement and what to be skinny but another girl doesn't blink twice and turns the page?
I think Gallagher's thoughts that "The idle mind is the devil's workshop," is the mood where advertisers hope they find their audience when consuming their message; one's attention that is not focused on an end goal but lost in the clouds with the ability to be brainwashed, converted or controlled by a stranger's message.
On a different note to showcase how everyone's focus and attention is different (and just for fun), there's always these famous perceptual illusions:
A young girl or old woman?
How many legs does the elephant have?