Proof of fun
In 'make up for lost time' mode, we need photo opportunities
Two years of lockdowns and uncertainty, not to mention financial hardship, have left scars on most of us. But 2020 and 2021 also gave the most privileged a chance to take some time, learn about ourselves and reflect. So we pose the question: what have we really lost and found?
Are the little things too little?
Let's start with the positives - on balance, the thing consumers report finding more than losing during two extraordinary years is a sense of 'enjoying the moment': relishing the simple things, watching nature bloom, appreciating friends and family, feeling safe at home, enjoying a walk.
Sounds great? Maybe...
We lost a lot too. In fact, on balance, we lost more than we found. Worryingly, we misplaced two great qualities - confidence in ourselves and our ability to have fun. We'll let that sink in... confidence and fun. So, whilst our gains of wholesome enjoyment of the moment sound brilliant, they also sound small. Many are struggling to find the big version of them - the one that feels bold, happy, truly able to have fun.
At a time where so many vow 'not to waste time', a lack of confidence and fun feels a big problem. Enjoying simple, little moments is nice - but nice is where it ends. They don't create big stories or memories and they don't urge us onwards.
When was the last time you really laughed?
The lack of confidence bothers us, of course it does. But in finding a solution we are drawn to the insights on fun.
Here's the thing - you could conclude we need an arm around our shoulders, some comfort and a rest to boost us. But, sizing the problem, it's clear we don't need a boost, we need rocket fuel!
Rather than committing to take it easy and be kind to ourselves, is it actually kinder to embrace a little chaos? The quick catch-up that disappears into a lost evening, the banter that distracts the whole team for 10 minutes, the spontaneous weekend plans, the average night that turns legendary. We're not advocating turning our back on balance or ignoring the simple moments we've finally learned to appreciate, but without some silly, wild fun will we ever put the pieces back together?
You are what you photograph
We found our taste for enjoying simple, small moments was reflected in our phones - photos of nice, easy pleasures. There's nothing wrong with this particularly, but if we want more fun in our lives and to get our mojo back, we need reminding of what's possible and how good that feels. Photos feel a good place to start.
You can bet those who get away on holiday will nail this objective for the week or two they get away from it all - but what about all the other weeks? And those who won't be venturing on trips?
This spells opportunity for brands - to help us recapture the fun, remind ourselves of how good it can feel and give us confidence we can get a slice of this again. Our remembering self needs proof of fun to spark the energy to make the plans and make sure we hope they don't get cancelled.
How to win?
The 'enjoy the moment' narrative will certainly resonate with consumers - so could be a good card to play. But brave brands will encourage consumers to embrace fun, make them laugh, give them silly talking points. They'll also help them hold onto stories (and souvenirs) that make doing it all again in the future feel less daunting, by helping them create memories and providing photo opportunities.