The role of play in marketing

By adam corney, business lead, minimega

Kids Play

Children have had the right idea for centuries when it comes to marketing.

On the playground, the easiest way to make a new friend is to invite them to play with you. You enter into a mutual relationship where fun is shared, trust is gained, and joy is created together.

When lunchtime arrives the next day, you can guarantee that your new friend will be back to play some more and keep having fun.

That’s exactly the role of play in modern marketing. It brings us back to one of the simplest truths: those who play together, stay together.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Disneyland, you’ll know what it’s like to be an adult who is given permission to feel child-like wonder again.

As marketers in modern day Adultland, we can recapture that sense of play through our communications and invitations to our audience.

All signs point towards play, particularly on mobile, returning as an integral part of our adult lives:

  • 94% of all Australians have a smart phone
  • 75% of over 18s identify as gamers
  • 47% of those who identify as gamers are women
  • 43% of gamers use mobile phones to play daily, and
  • the average gamer is 32 years old.                                                                      Source

With mobile comes direct, immediate and intimate access to an audience that are giving us their attention and permission to “entertain, engage, arouse and titillate them.

Play in marketing goes beyond forming an emotional bond to an idea. It can help an audience reimagine their world and become more active participants in their life.

When done right, play can be used to:

  • promote positive brand associations
  • illustrate product values and benefits
  • allow an easy and comfortable way to access complex answers or new problems.

Play isn’t right for all audience or brands. You’d be surprised, though, at how many people may be interested in your ideas if you presented them in a very human way.  Play can be a conduit straight to the heart of your audience.

The last word on play comes from James Stephens, from the novel Crock of Gold:

“I have learned,” said the Philosopher, “that the head does not hear anything until the heart has listened, and that what the heart knows to-day the head will understand to-morrow.”

Adam Corney Minimega    Adam Corney is the Business Lead for MiniMega

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For more insights into modern marketing register to attend ADMA’s Global Forum:

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