It can be pretty easy to discount all this Escape Adulthood stuff as floofy (hmm…my spell checker informs me that floofy is not a word). I run in to a lot of business folks from all over who figuratively (and sometimes literally) roll their eyes when I talk about this concept of returning to some of the childlike traits we lost when we grew up. They’re in the business of making money, and have no time for all of this touchy-feely nonsense.
The funny thing is, if you really look around, the people making the most money are the ones who get the idea of Escaping Adulthood. The smart ones know that everyone likes to have fun, and if you can create and deliver an experience in which people have fun — even if the product itself is not generally regarded as fun, like a tea kettle — people will spend more money. It doesn’t always make sense, but it always makes cents… if that makes any sense.
Marilyn Bailey of the Toronto Star does a great job of providing some excellent examples:
The new Volkswagen Beetle: Introduced in the late ’90s, the practical car wasn’t just a retro hippie icon. It was even cuter than the original, as author Christopher Noxon points out, with a flower vase pre-installed on the dashboard and a front end that looks even more like a smiley face.
The Hummer: In the popular school-bus yellow, it looks like something made by Tonka.
Mini Cooper: A Matchbox car big enough for a human to fit in — but just barely.
Michael Graves tea kettle: With its clean lines and its spout that seems to be waving “hi” at you, the kettle looks as though Graves designed it while humming “I’m a Little Teapot.”
Macintosh: A computer that brags about its ease of use, designed in colours that look as though they come out of Candy Land.
Appliances: $300 KitchenAid stand mixers have come out in surf green and bubble-gum pink.
If you’re in the business of marketing anything, perhaps you should take a second look at this idea of incorporating a little childlike magic into your product or service. People like to have fun, and they like to reconnect to a time when things seemed simpler. So what’s your tea kettle? What are you selling that could benefit from a little childlike infusion? How can you change your tea kettle to make other people smile? The answer you come up with — and the results they garner — will be anything but floofy.
[tags]marketing, Michael Graves, tea kettle, Hummer, Mini Cooper, Kitchen Aid, Macintosh, Volkswagon Beetle[/tags]
David Zinger says
For our wedding, friends bought us the Michael Graves tea kettle. It is beautiful and was beautiful until my wife left it on the stove, the water evaporated away, and it got so hot it melted the handle.
I must admit for a little while I was quite “tea-ed” off but it was nice to see a picture of how it used to look.
Ah well, long live impermanence.