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Guest Article: Chaitanya Chunduri: Of 'Fata Morgana' and Advertising

By Chaitanya Chunduri , Google, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 25, 2016
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What do you call an ad that brilliantly grabs our attention by the horns? Not like the ones that are made to work like click baits, but those made to create meaningful closure.

Fata Morgana

This picture, recently shot by a certain Nick O'Donoghue, at 30,000 ft from a plane, has been doing the rounds on the internet this week.

Chaitanya Chunduri

Apparently, it features what looks like some huge robot walking along the clouds. These pictures got Reddit rife with juice speculations.

An alien? An 'Iron Giant'? Some astronaut?

Well, the suspense seems to have been solved.

Weather experts say the phenomenon can be explained by what is called 'Fata Morgana' - a specific kind of mirage.

No wonder, throughout history, few phenomena have both fascinated and scared the hell out of sailors, saints, warriors and vacationers alike.

But Fata Morgana is great because of what it quintessentially succeeds at.

Over centuries, every Fata Morgana has attracted our attention, invoked curiosity, set our mental models in search of narratives that could explain it, and sent us on a great big, wild goose chase.

But all Fata Morganas have one thing in common. They all make complete sense once the underlying logic and rationale are brought to bear.

In modern marketing terms...

... Fata Morgana is like an ad that brilliantly grabs our attention, by the horns, but not like those click baits, or those that come with some cheap attention-grabbing visuals or effects.

In modern marketing terms, Fata Morgana is like an ad that brilliantly grabs our attention... not like those click baits, or those that come with some cheap attention-grabbing visuals or effects. These are stories ensconced in narratives that are deliberately layered to challenge our conventional expectations and shake up our notions of rationality...
Chaitanya Chunduri
These are stories ensconced in narratives that are deliberately layered to challenge our conventional expectations and shake up our notions of rationality. Yet when the closure arrives, these make eminent sense and leave an indelible impact in our minds.

Let's take Abby Wambach, for instance...

The 35-year-old superstar is said to be one of the greatest soccer players to ever step on the field. Besides leading her team to World Cup victory, she also won two Olympic gold medals, became the world's all-time leading goal scorer (man or woman), and was recognised as one of TIME's 100 in 2015.

On 16 December 2015 she played her final game in New Orleans. And on 16 December 2015 when she took the field for the last time, Gatorade released this commercial.

Her message?

"Forget Me"

Gatorade ad featuring Abby Wambach

(The author is principal account manager, FMCG vertical, Google India. He blogs at brandednoise.com)

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