The Fun Theory

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
To what end?

I cannot stand advertisements. As I write, I am listening to the radio, and every time an ad comes on my blood pressure goes up and my index fingers go in my ears. That fake cheery voice, repeated use of the product name, and claim that if I buy the product my life will be complete wear on my psyche.
But, give me a creative ad campaign that doesn’t have these annoying elements and instead gives me something back, and you’ll have my attention. VW’s The Fun Theory campaign is an example of this ingenious use of creativity.
The premiss goes like this: create a series of experiments carried out on the general public and captured on video that show how fun can change people’s behaviour for the better. Stick the line “An initiative of Volkswagen” at the end of each of the videos. Send them off into cyberspace, and watch people share them until they go viral, knowing that viewers will now associate fun and positive behaviour with your product.
It works! The video showing how turning a set of subway stairs into a playing piano convinced 66% more people to take the stairs has more than 13 million views on YouTube.
I confess that I am not convinced that VW actually wants to make the world a better place. But, the fact that getting people to appreciate positive change in behaviour can be an incidental outcome of the campaign makes me happy. 
Creativity for a utilitarian purpose with the betterment of society as a by-product still gets two thumbs up from me.


Today’s 4 Minute Writer  


Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids.
Follow your nose, it’s always nose.
Where’s the beef?
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese…

The corporations have conducted a product placement campaign and used my brain as their laboratory. Now their slogans have a lifelong location in the wrinkles of my cortex. Resistance is futile, no Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind procedure can get them out.

My only recourse is to re-file these words and images under ‘Irrelevant’ in there. Ha-ha, you lose!

Image source

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Filed under Creativity, Writing

4 responses to “The Fun Theory

  1. Great post, Zoe. So often the motive behind these campaigns is fairly ruthless that when someone does something which has love of life among its motives you have to applaud. Have you ever seen that fabulous Guinness ad? very, very silly indeed, and all it made people do was buy a drink. But it made them feel good too.

    Its at

  2. I enjoyed the videos, especially the piano staircase! Creating ads designed to improve the lives of viewers/listeners is an admirable endeavor. I hope we will see these kinds of advertisements in the future. Blessings to you…

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