Collyn and I were talking about the idea of 'brand play'. Just as we have 'brand essence' and 'brand personality', it seems there is an emerging integral role for brand play where brands create experiences for consumers that are designed to create pure delight, surprise and playful interaction. This taps into a concept I've been talking about known as 'the delighter', a term used in the hotel industry to describe the serendipitous moments engineered for guests.
The importance of play to our creativity and wellbeing is starting to be better understood and as a result, the role of play is being elevated culturally. I think we're due for a Childhood Renaissance, but that's another story.
At first, brand play may seem out of context or a novelty, but before long it could become as standardised as CSR (how wonderful would it be to receive brand play briefs). Digital brands will be very good at it but I also think it's a key role for the corporates - I can imagine McDonald's creating 'pop-up' bouncy castles with Carston Holler or something.
Artists, happiness economists and interaction designers will be integral to brand play. I love this example spotted on Priyanka's blog of a project by artist Bruno Taylor, who has taken to hijacking public spaces and injecting a dollop of much-needed fun, such as a swing in a bus stop.
Images courtesy of Google images; Pixelsumo