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THE WORLD IS YOUR PLAYGROUND – Awaken your inner child!

Three years ago, Volkswagen introduced its Fun Theory to the world with the idea that fun has the power to change human behaviour for the better. Since then, numerous brands have embraced the idea of playfulness and are creating amusing campaigns that target adult consumers through their inner child.

With adults suffering increasingly from stress, many have come to the realisation that, like kids, they too need time to let go and foster their imagination, creativity and innovation.

Some brands are embracing this need for adults to balance stressful daily routines with playtime by creating adult playgrounds.

Here are some examples.

EVIAN – SNOW PLAYGROUND

Whilst bringing fun into cities around the world sounds like a great idea, brands need to continue being relevant while doing so. Mineral water brand Evian, has always communicated on its youthful spirit, most famously with its Rolling Babies in its “Live Young” campaign. To continue to build the momentum of the campaign, last January, Evian unveiled the world’s first snow-producing playground for adults, which helped stressed workers in London to get in touch with their own youthful spirit by letting go and having fun.

The oversized swings and see-saw were kinetically-powered and rewarded playful behaviour: the more playful the behaviour, the more snow fell. Evian believes that anyone can ‘live young’ and by enabling consumers to reach that state of mind, it reinforces its positioning as the pure, natural and youthful water brand that consumers can connect with.

MCDONALD’S – ADULT SIZED PLAYLAND

McDonald’s has always encouraged consumers to enjoy themselves through fun and carefree activities, and their line “I’m loving it” epitomises the idea of enjoyment.

McDonald’s first introduced its famous PlayPlace playgrounds back in 1987 and, since then, kids all over the world have enjoyed the familiar crawl-tube with ball pits and slides. However, last year McDonald’s decided that the fun shouldn’t just be for kids and created its first PlayPlace for adults.

More than three storeys high, the adult-sized construction was aimed at office workers, allowing them to forget about their deadlines, budgets and daily stresses, and reignite their childhood memories. McDonald’s message was clear: no matter what your age is, McDonald’s is still the place where you can have fun, be yourself, and feel like a kid again.

NEUTROGENA – THE SNOWBALL EFFECT

Renowned for their famous Norwegian Formula, skincare brand Neutrogena has been helping people to enjoy winter by relieving their dry skin for 40 years.

To celebrate this anniversary and allow consumers to enjoy winter once more, Neutrogena covered a public square in Paris with more than 600kg of snow and encouraged hundreds of passers-by to join the biggest snowball fight of the year (and of course use Neutrogena afterwards).

By associating the brand with enjoyment, Neutrogena transcends its product’s functional benefit and becomes the go-to brand for people who know how to enjoy the coldest months of the year.

SMART – PONG GAME CONTROLLERS

Electric cars are known to be boring to drive, while people see them as being environmentally friendly, they tend to rate them poorly on the driving experience they provide. Building on the brand’s fun-loving personality, Smart arranged a playful test drive event at the IAA motor show in Frankfurt, which challenged consumers’ preconceptions of their new electric car, the Smart Fortwo, by showing them just how much fun it could be to drive.

To promote the car’s unique selling point, its agile acceleration, Smart invited passers-by to jump in one of two Fortwo cars to play a game of Pong using the cars as controllers. The virtual representation of the game was shown on a large screen, which kept scores and even allowed players to input their names.

This amusing idea embodied Smart’s confident positioning: ‘Open your mind’. It drew attention to the key benefits of the car, endorsed the brand’s playful nature and motivated consumers to move ahead and challenge the status quo.

NIKE+ PLAY TAG APP

As we grow older, many turn to sports or the gym to shape their bodies and stay healthy. Sport becomes the means to reach an objective rather than being something enjoyable that happens to keep you fit – the way it used to be when we were kids. As this makes it difficult for some people to stick to their fitness routines, Nike is determined to put the fun back into sports by reviving childhood favourite, tag.

A few years ago, Nike released its popular Play Tag ad, which urged consumers to ‘play’ in the city. Last year, thanks to the new technology in place, the sports brand was able to push the idea even further. Their latest mobile app – Nike+ GPS allows users to set up athletic contests between themselves and play tag with their friends. Playing tag fosters competition and a lot of running around, plus it can be extremely fun.

This idea positions Nike as the sports brand that helps consumers to really enjoy their workout.

BUDWEISER – GOAL IN THE DARK

Budweiser acknowledges that men in Argentina have two passions: football and clubbing.

To strengthen the relationship with men and show them that Budweiser truly understands them, the beer brand decided to combine those two (vital) needs by creating a mini football field on a club dance floor in Buenos Aires, which they called Goal in the dark.

Dressed with LED equipped outfits and a phosphorescent ball, everyone was invited to play against Argentinean football icon, Martin Palermo, and “Grab some Buds” after the game. This activation raised awareness of the brand at the place of purchase in an exciting and relevant way whilst increasing the desirability of the brand.