All Work And No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy

September 21, 2015 | By: Elise Gould | 2 min read

We’ve all heard the old proverb about Jack being a dull boy when deprived from his playtime. Today, a few brands have begun using this same concept to drive sales.

A growing workload and the feeling that we never really stop working, thanks to our always-connected lifestyles, head led to a stressed, burned out society with less time and money to re-energize. Human beings need a release, but we need it in realistic increments. In other words, we need recess—and we’re determined to find ways to take it.

This ‘play ethic’ is one that hasn’t escaped marketers. A number of recent products and promotions have capitalized on childlike indulgences and goofy, playful, and juvenile messaging strategies to push products that promote playtime.Injecting Playtime in Our Every Day Lives

As marketers, we know the proof is in the numbers, and these hard statistics prove it. Even more common activities, like using computers, become a source of fun and entertainment for many. A 2014 Mintel report stated that 43% of people who cook do so because they truly enjoy it – not just out of necessity. Additionally, many people are finding time to indulge on their computers, with over 30% of consumers surveyed say that their computers serve as their primary source of fun and entertainment. Smartphones are even more popular, as 63% of all consumers over 18 who own a smartphone or tablet use it to play a game at least once in a given week.

So if these everyday means of entertainment are so popular, how can we as marketers use our resources and products to get in on the fun?Fun Time Applied

A few brands like Gapfiller, McDonalds, and Keen Footwear have already capitalized on the concept by getting adults to exercise and play interactively without any tiresome convincing.

Gapfiller, based in New Zealand, installed the Dance-O-Mat in their city for public use. If you insert some small change and hook up your iPod or smartphone, the giant mat will play music, encouraging participants, adults and children alike, to jump around and have some fun.

A McDonalds in Sydney, Australia, encourages adults, both tourists and local office workers, to spend some play time in their jumbo-sized Playland – the largest in the world. As their Director of Marketing says, “The adult-sized Playland allows us to forget about the deadlines, budgets and stresses of life and just revel in this incredible childhood arcadia.” While you’re at it, I’m sure Mickey D’s wouldn’t mind if you picked up a Happy Meal, too!

Keen Footwear’s “Recess is Back” campaign encourages people to take just a few minutes away from their desks every day to play, move around, and re-energize. An expert working with them on the campaign suggest that companies who encourage wellness-based activity may even experience increased ROI, as studies have shown that employees may become more productive after playtime.The ‘adult recess’ these brands have created doesn’t look all that different from the recess of our youth. In fact, it can be just as playful, silly, and downright childish. After all, the best antidote for adulthood is acting like a kid again, isn’t it?

What are some of your favorite examples of brands diving into playtime? Share them with us in the comments below!

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