I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of Star Wars. George Lucas’ saga occupies an important spot in my life and I’m not the only one who feels that way. Volkswagen commercial aired during last year’s Superbowl proves me right.
For those not in the know: the National Football League final game is a sport celebration on one hand, and advertising festival on the other. Businesses pay astronomical amounts of money for one second of air time, they also prepare special versions of their ads made especially for this occasion. It was during the Superbowl game in 1984 when Apple aired their famous 1984 ad directed by Ridley Scott. But it’s not Apple A.D. 1984 I wanted to talk about, I wanted to tell you about Volkswagen A.D. 2011.
A small child dressed as Darth Vader tries to use the Force on various objects around him. But neither dog nor toys do not yield to his efforts. Only his father’s car (the newest Volkswagen Passat) surprises a little renounced boy, and the engine suddenly starts up. The commercial works, because it gets to us on some deep level. Admit it: when you walk through an automated door, don’t you feel a bit like a Jedi knight endowed with the Force power? I know I do. And I’m not ashamed of it — sometimes I ostentatiously raise my hand in front of such door to show that it is my power it surrenders to. Yes, I know, the consternation among some of my friends is close to what you are thinking right now.
But consider this: for people like me (and there are many of us, remember), door playing Imperial March by John Williams would be much more fun than any other “standard” door. I would be even willing to pay for such fun. With money if it was my door, but — what’s more important — with my attention if it was some restaurant or mall door. And I would certainly bring some friends along just to show them this wonderful thing.
The words “fun” and “attention” are inextricably linked. Especially in todays world where we have hundreds of TV channels at our disposal, countless websites and dozens of automatic doors at shopping malls.
“Injecting fun” into brands will be a dominating trend of the upcoming era of prosperity, but it will also be a great recipe for the crisis. Because if I’m to reduce my spending on pleasures, I want the ones that stay to be as fun as possible.
There are brands that have already discovered their “fun”, there are also those that actively create it. Think of Magnum ice cream. Sensual pleasure drawn from the sound of cracking chocolate may seem like just an addition to ice cream’s flavor or its price. But for many customers it is the most important thing that distinguishes the brand from the others. The difference between the doors playing Imperial march and ones without it.
Think. Does your brand have its “fun”?