Grant Westbrook
SVP, Global Marketing Director, Mintel

Living with technology mintel inspire

Last week I attended a talk by Tom Chatfield author of Game Inc. and big time thinker on technology and its it cultural impact.

Aside from my musings on how his brain fits inside a normal human skull (surely he must have a hard drive where he stores some of that knowledge,) it was interesting to hear some supporting arguments for an emerging trend on Mintel Inspire.

The trend “Switch Off” looks at the tyranny of connectivity and suggests that consumers need some time off, some privacy and reconnection with the real world. Tom took this one step further and argued the crutch of digital technology could actually be harming a generations ’emotional immune system’ leaving them incapable of dealing with normal everyday problems. In my day there wasn’t a problem that couldn’t be surmounted through taking a cold shower, repressing your feelings and having a pot noodle. Perhaps we’ll see the emergence of character building ‘digital detox’ boot-camps? Or National Service?

To be serious though, this is an important issue and one that brands should really be looking at. We have already seen bars promoting their lack of mobile phone connection, the development of wi-fi free paint, hotels offering incentives for ‘digital detox’ stays and charity campaigns aimed at getting people to disconnect. So where next? Orange has it’s ‘Orange Wednesdays,’ but can a brand really take ownership of our increasing need to switch off.