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Post Written By Sandie Glass, Owner of Innovation ROI

A Strategic Full Service Ideation & Research Company

We just love creative problem solving! Some people have a knack for it, others need to work at it. We want to make it easy for you to innovate or renovate your brand. We are using something as easy as the dictionary to help you generate new ideas. We are now up to the letter “P” in our A-Z of Creativity series. “P” stands for PLAYFUL, so let’s see what we might utilize it.

PLAYFUL is defined as “full of play or fun; sportive; frolicsome,” “pleasantly humorous or jesting,” or “an exercise or activity for amusement or recreation.”

It’s obvious that most toys, electronic games, and board games could fall under PLAYFUL if you wanted to throw an entire category into the definition. PLAYFUL to me has an element of delight. It is amusing in a sense, but it also brings a little joy to our lives. It might be amusing in how it is named or packaged rather than the product itself. Or it might bring you joy by a hidden surprise the product brings to your taste buds or your experience using the product.  PLAYFUL may also be a little bit flirty too. PLAYFUL is a good attribute to try to incorporate into your brand if you can, so let’s take a deeper look at this concept.

Products that immediately come to mind as PLAYFUL include:

  • Tic Tac – Everything about this product feels PLAYFUL to me – even the name is PLAYFUL. The small, little mints in the noisy little package are fun to eat, fun to shake in a little pocket-sized container, and even fun and PLAYFUL to share with others. They are even PLAYFUL in the sense that they are minimal calories, so you are being PLAYFUL with your craving to pop a few little treats during the day if you happen to be calorie-counting. The PLAYFUL nature of this product is even evident in TV commercials – which are PLAYFUL and fun to watch!
  • Conversation Hearts – The product itself is all about PLAYFUL communication with each little heart carrying a different heart-felt message. It is a PLAYFUL and fun way to share your feelings with others without getting too serious.
  • McDonald’s Happy Meals – An ingenious way to satisfy both parents and kids, keeping them happy, entertained and coming back from more! McDonald’s created the PLAYFUL Happy Meals giving kids small toys that will entertain them while they were eating at the restaurant, in the car, or at home. Then they even took this PLAYFUL concept a step further incorporating actual PLAYgrounds into many of their restaurant locations to keep the PLAYFUL, good times going!
  • Pout – A lip plumper that inflates your lips. Not only do I consider the product a bit PLAYFUL, but the packaging is too! This little tube of Pout is surrounded by a clear inflated plastic bubble that emphasizes the product benefit. It definitely puts a smile on your face when you see it. Clever, inventive, and definitely PLAYFUL!
  • Clairol Herbal Essences – These hair care products have taken a PLAYFUL approach to naming their product lines. The names incorporate the key benefit of the product in a tongue-in-cheek way that gets them noticed and you smiling! Some examples are Totally Twisted, Tousle Me Softly, Hydralicious, Long Term Relationship, Drama Clean and Set Me Up Stylers. And they don’t stop there, following through with the PLAYFULness theme in their TV commercials too.

PLAYFUL can also come from interesting flavor combinations that stimulate your senses bringing you a new, delightful eating experience. For example, the ethnic fusion trend often combines flavors from two very different cultures – like mixing Mexican with Asian – to see what can deliciously develop. And don’t neglect those environmental elements around food that can be considered PLAYFUL. Back in the 80’s Max & Erma’s used to be a big singles joint. They had special telephones on each table so you could actually call another table to meet someone that caught your attention.

So what about your product or service? What could you do to the product, positioning, or packaging to make it more PLAYFUL to your consumer? Can it be more interactive? More portable? More sensory and desirable? What about your naming strategy for your product lines or even your flavors/fragrances? Can they be changed to be more fun? Everyone is always open to bringing more delight or joy into their lives. Keep at it and give yourself some time to explore the concept of PLAYFUL for your product.

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