Connect in the Arena of Play
Adults, Play and Interactive Media
According to Stuart L. Brown, M.D., founder of the National Institute for Play, humans need to play at all ages. And as more people see the power of creativity in the adult world, we are realizing that our future depends upon play — or, as Brown calls it, “our greatest natural resource.” (Huffington Post – Adults Just Want to Play)
Yesterday, I read a blog post by Evan Bailyn aptly titled: Adults Just Want to Play. In this article it talks about the inspiration drawn from the very viral, Caine’s Arcade – a true story about a boy and a dream and the art of play. Evan talks more about how we, as adults, have sectioned off the idea of play because we act as though it has no place in the day to day world of the adult. Evan is correct – in every way imaginable.
It’s Time For Play
In advertising we buy our own bullshit. In that, I mean we definitely take ourselves way too serious. It’s time to introduce the play. In fact, from the ages of 0 through 12 most of our learning is through playful actions. Our development is built through the process of play thus encouraging learning – like the eyes on an infant’s toys. Have you ever noticed how large they are? This is because a child at that age has very little depth perception or the ability to notice details. However, with large black and white eyes (essentially two circles) the child is able to learn eye contact and focus. Which he/she can use in greater detail when it comes to interacting with trusted individuals like mom and dad. However, we as creatives don’t seem to tap into this ability to create engagement through playful interaction. How many interactive experiences do we come across? Now how much interruptive advertising do we encounter? That’s my point. The current model is based on the principles of disruption rather that stimulation. Business to consumer (B2C) doesn’t have to evoke angst – but instead, can encourage fun, joy and happiness leading to connectivity with the brand.
These connections can stimulate a genuine feeling – doing research on affluent groups the other day I came across data suggesting that this particular demographic follows their favorite brands on the web, not for a discount, but due to a true appreciation/desire for the the company. They are highly engaged and tuned into their favorite companies. Through play (interaction) we create stimulation which leads to tuning in and successfully creates more engagement.
Not completely independent, sometimes the control channel can influence the sensation channel. A person can listen intently to a distant conversation or track a moving object with their eyes. Likewise, a person can try to ignore a pain, avert their eyes, or shut out an annoying sound. We model all control of this sort as “tuning” in or out an eventuality of the world, enabling or preventing it from stimulating the body. To correctly notate the causal predicates of enable and prevent within a first-order framework, it is necessary to reify the eventuality of the stimulation, the tuning in, and the tuning out. Here we adopt the style of ontological promiscuity proposed by Hobbs (1985), creating new primed predicates (stimulate’, tuneIn’, tuneOut’) where the unprimed versions are true exactly in the case that the eventuality (the first argument of each predicate) really exists. Enable and prevent take their standard meanings within a theory of causality, e.g. as causally involved in the causal-complex that produces the effect (Hobbs, 2005).
- The action of “tuning in” to something is a body action that enables stimulation.
- The action of “tuning out” something is a body action that prevents stimulation.
Interruptive advertising has been tuned out by the consumer, they are disconnected. However, they do tune in through engagement, even if it’s with businesses - don’t believe me? Ask my colleagues Drew Frey (@freydrew), Andrew Nystrom (@adnys) and Connor Lynch (@connorlynch) how much engagement they have created for their respective brands (Vail Resorts, Red Bull and Asics) due to playful content and interactive media.
If you build it, they will come. – Field of Dreams