“Try not to hear this”

There’s a new print campaign by Coca-Cola (by the agency David) that uses a concept called Synesthesia.

Synesthesia is a perceptual phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory perception leads to an involuntary experience of a second sensory perception.

For instance, what do you hear in your mind when you see these visuals?

Basically, your mind is filling up details in another sensory plane (audio) because of the inherent familiarity with the subject.

In case of Coca-Cola, even if it is not about Coca-Cola the brand, the visuals and headline would still work since opening a can or a bottle, no matter which brand, given how common and familiar it is, would evoke the same reaction in your mind.

Incidentally, Coca-Cola’s 2016 campaign line was, ‘Taste The Feeling’, a variant of synesthesia.

Interestingly, Pepsi used this concept in the 90s, when they launched a clear cola, called Crystal Pepsi. The brand’s slogan was, “You’ve never seen a taste like this”! If you wonder how can anyone ‘see’ taste, you are on the right track.

Here are a couple more print ads that use the concept.

Saatchi & Saatchi
H&C Leo Burnett Beirut

To some extent, the use of a ‘GIF’ in the Powerade ads I had shared last week, also fall under the ambit of synesthesia. In that series, your mind fills the details and lets you play the static visual in a loop.

Most famous musical logos (the sound played when the logo is shown) are also good examples of inducing synesthesia, helping us connect with a logo and sound so that when we see the logo as a static image, the sound plays in our head and vice versa. Example: Intel.

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