Fun Gets It Done


PlayCon-232 Last month I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at PlayCon, the Toy Industry Association’s International Conference of Play Professionals. Featuring the likes of (L to R) Nancy Zwiers of Funosophy, Dr. Scott Eberle of the Strong National Museum of Play and Dr. Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute of Play, PlayCon was a wealth of useful and intriguing information. As you might imagine, much of the discussion was on play and how it can help improve innovation, productivity, and learning across many fields. In the weeks since, I have kept an eye out for play in the marketing world and have found some interesting examples where fun gets it done in terms of attracting and keeping customers.

IMG_2010 Two Men and a Truck is a moving company whose trucks I often see down here in Florida. I love the child-like sketch which acts as this company's logo. It says "fun" and "family-friendly" as clear as black and white. It must be working, because the company is across Canada and in the process of conquering the US.

IMG_2012 This residential repiping company uses one narly looking cat on its trucks to get attention. When I first saw this freaky feline, I laughed aloud. Is it real? Is it a muppet? And what in the world does it have to do with repiping a house?! Was this cat caught in a pipe, resulting in the need for an entire repiping? I went on the company's website after snapping this picture and the cat is no where to be found. It's a real head-scratcher of a choice, but the bizarre fun of it garners attention.

We have a chain of decadent ice cream shops here called Cold Stone Creamery. Their product is great, but it's the play that is really memorable. Tip well and you get a song, complete with drumming, ice cream scooper flipping, fun. I've noticed that the bigger the tip, the bigger the tune. There is play to Cold Stone's signage as well. They assume the sale, or in this case the resale, with a supposition that your sweet treat and your serenade will bring you back the following day.

Cold Stone

Finally, Target kicked off summer with these 10 feet wide Staples (oops, that's another chain) of Summer. Talk about play that makes you pause! Target wins by making summer (and your shopping experience) Funner!


Smart marketers know that Play Moves Us. It can move us to buy and maybe even move us to brand loyalty. If nothing else, when well done, play makes us pause.


But seriously, what's up with the cat?

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