The holidays can be a great escape from – and also a great reminder of – how utterly exhausting ‘adulting’ can be. Many brands use this spirit of festivity to make adult consumers feel like a kid again, but as Mintel Trend ‘Play Ethic’ explores, brands that inject fun and play into ordinary life throughout the year will resonate with consumers.

Mintel research reveals consumers’ quest for commonplace amusement: 60% of Americans say toys and games are for adults as well as children; nearly half of those who cook at home say they do so because they enjoy the process; and 59% of US shoppers who budget say they do so because they enjoy seeking the pest price.

Perhaps nothing better illustrates the need for a ‘break’ from stress as much as the ‘break room’ trend. In Mexico City, Reebok promoted its new FuryLite FW16 shoe with a Fury House that allowed participants to smash things to relieve stress in a safe environment. The concept is popping up in Vietnam, Singapore, Brazil, New York City, and beyond.

Beyond material destruction, this trend presents a way for brands to get creative in producing thrills. Below are three concepts to serve as inspiration:

1. Pick-me-ups via packaging

  • The 2017 holiday cup from Starbucks allows customers to make it their own by adding color and illustrations.
  • In China, Mondelēz and e-commerce platform Tmall released the Oreo Music Box, a limited edition vinyl player that plays music when an Oreo cookie is placed on it.
  • Pizza Hut UK created the world’s first ‘playable DJ pizza box.’ Created in partnership with printed electronic specialist Novalia, the limited edition cardboard box can be connected to smartphones or laptops using Bluetooth, allowing users to mix 10 songs by using DJ apps.

2. Vitality through voice- and visual-based technology

  • In honor of National Coffee Day, Dunkin’ Donuts launched a new Amazon Alexa trivia skill that gave fans an opportunity to test their coffee knowledge and increase their donut IQ.
  • Verizon gave customers a chance to win prizes through an alternative reality scavenger hunt game on Snapchat.
  • British brewer Adnams launched a virtual reality game to promote its Ghost Ship beer before Halloween. The top 20 scorers received a year’s supply of Ghost Ship.

3. Elate with kid-like experiences

  • Toys R Us displayed a giant Etch A Sketch in a New York City subway station, encouraging kids, parents, locals, and commuters to take a break from life’s stress and enjoy some playtime.
  • A competition from LEGO and Airbnb offered one family the chance to stay in a house built from the famous plastic bricks in Billund, Denmark. Entrants had to describe what they would build together as a family if given an infinite supply of LEGO bricks.
  • Two new flagship Sephora store in Spain double as both school and playground. Similarly, a shopping mall in China recently unveiled a spiral slide that zips shoppers down four flights in 12 seconds.
  • Gum brand Trident set up a bus shelter billboard on Brazil’s bustling Paulista Avenue that invited people to ‘refresh their vibe.’
  • As workouts get taken up a notch (think color runs and mud races), the AquaMermaid School offers a unique twist: a program that allows participants to get fit while living out their dreams of swimming with a mermaid fin.

Consider taking this concept beyond pure enjoyment by offering rewards for ‘adulting.’ Youth-focused brands often find fun ways to get kids to do not-so-fun things, like brush their teeth or eat their vegetables. Could there be a similar market for adults?

Stacy Bingle is a Consumer Trends Consultant at Mintel. Stacy joined Mintel in 2013 bringing with her an exciting blend of CPG, agency and marketing experience. Her time is spent traveling the US engaging clients across global CPG, Beauty and Financial Services in meaningful discussions around the consumer trends that will propel their businesses forward.

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