Many discoveries often happen at the flick of a switch, with an “aha moment”. The origin of this emotional state dates back to the Greek period. The Greek mathematician Archimedes, while taking a bath, noticed how the level of water rose causing displacement of water and declared ‘Eureka’ as he stepped out of the bath and the Archimedes’ principle was born. Eureka comes from the Ancient Greek word heúrēka, meaning “I have found (it)”.

Several studies have been carried out over the years to better understand this ‘spark’ in the brain, referred to as ‘insight’ in the scientific community. In one such study, each participant was posed with a set of four or five letter anagrams and were asked to indicate how they came about the solution. If the solution emerged into consciousness, suddenly and unexpectedly it was classed as an insight, whereas solutions based on ongoing, derivative, and deliberate thought was considered analytical. The experiment used high-density electroencephalography (EEG) which showed a significant reward signal in the brain, correlating to insight-based solutions, as opposed to analytical solutions.

This explains why we are innately a race who choose puzzles and problem-solving to feed our own reward system. Does this also explain why we are drawn to visual cues, and enjoy decoding images on billboards? Is this why the ad world is inclined to present logos and visuals to communicate brands instead of just words? Is this why using rhetorical questions can be a way to lead the reader to an aha moment?

Here are some great examples for the campaign of KFC’s Hot & Spicy Chicken which uses this technique:


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