Tag Archives: Fun

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

Fun and Spontaneity

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
The Creative Process

The creative process can be difficult, requiring intense emotional energy. It can also be fun and freeing- the flip side to yesterday’s post.

I told a friend at work, Janine, that the fun and freeing aspect of creativity was going to be the topic of today’s Notes on Creativity. “Great,” she responded, “let’s give you something to write about. We’ll do a scavenger hunt at lunch.” And with that, she walked off.

My internal knee-jerk reaction was , “No, let’s not- we’re adults, we’re professionals, and that’s just plain silly”. Then I remembered a previous post in which I stated that ‘yes goes further than no’ . I decided to practice what I preach. My answer promptly turned into”Yes, let’s”.

And so, we each made a list of things for the other to find or do at lunchtime. Janine had me looking for oddities to photograph (an office chair with coffee mug in a bus shelter- you never know what you may find…), searching for out-of-province license plates, and reading the fine print on Stop signs. I had her asking a stranger for the time and getting him to write it down (she found a good sport), buying me chocolate (may as well take advantage of the opportunity), and stopping to admire a flower.

It was a lot of fun seeing what we came up with for each other, and enjoying the spontaneity together.

Having practiced what I preached, I can attest that ‘yes’ does indeed go further than ‘no’.

Do one thing today that brings a little creative fun into your life.  


Janine the Scavenger Hunter


Today’s 4 Minute Writer

The Jar

I lick my lips in anticipation. The lid is on tight, but I’m determined. My hand stings as I increase the pressure of the turn. No movement. I reposition and try again. Nothing but an increasingly sore hand.

Time to get out the tools. Butter knife under the lip of the lid. This just mangles the top, but gets me no closer to what’s inside. Can opener. Can’t quite get the right angle. Teeth- now I’m getting desperate.

Saliva builds as my taste buds grow impatient. I can’t stand it any longer. I call for reinforcements: “Honey!”

He comes casually up the stairs. I hold out the jar, forehead tensed, lower lip turned out. He gently twists a little to the left, and off pops the lid. The sweet smell of Nutella is free to roam.

I hold out my hand to take back the jar.

“To the victor go the spoils,” he proclaims, and vanishes back down the stairs.

Next time I’ll hand him a jar of pickled pigs feet.

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Filed under Creativity, Writing

Why So Serious?

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Blockers to Creativity

A few months ago I learned a very valuable lesson about being in the right frame of mind to allow creativity to flow through me, unhindered. And, like with so many of the really important lessons in life, it came through pain and being humbled.

I was involved in a project that became extremely important to me. I spent hours, weeks, months on it, thought about it in-depth throughout this time period, discussed it incessantly with others, studied it from every angle. The culmination of the project was several presentations infront of a few hundred people. The first few presentations I gave it my very best, my all, but somehow it didn’t come off well and I could not understand why. Of course, my inner critic was much harsher than others, but I knew that I wasn’t portraying what I had to give with the real creativity I felt. I was frustrated and confused.

Just before one of the last presentations, I kicked back with some friends and we got into a great round of banter, laughter, and down-right silliness. I was in a great mood! That evening’s presentation was magic. I was in flow, and each moment took on a life of its own, portraying exactly what I had meant it to.

I learned a powerful lesson about not taking myself so seriously that I become over-invested in my projects and lose sight of what they are meant to be- fun, in the truest sense of the word. Let go, relax, and enjoy the ride.


Today’s 4 Minute Writer


Tonight, 11:57pm, she’s sitting on a bar stool at Eddie’s Taphouse. Tomorrow night, 11:57pm, she’ll be laying on the floor in this same spot.

She spends nearly every minute she’s not at work here. It’s where she and her friends celebrate all the significant and not so significant occasions in their lives. It’s where she comes because she has nowhere else to go.

Just like on the tv show Cheers, everyone here does know her name, and they really are glad that she comes. She always feels welcome and appreciated here. Tonight, she has no idea that just under 24 hours from now, she’ll walk in for the last time.

Monday’s 4 Minute Writer topic: Wine Glasses After the Party

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Filed under Creativity, Free writing