In a goal-oriented, tightly structured world, more people will come to see carefree, spontaneous play as beneficial.

Our July trend report, “Play As a Competitive Advantage,” argues that in a goal-oriented, tightly structured world, more people will come to see carefree, spontaneous play as beneficial. Adults across generations certainly agree that play should be part of their lives, with some wistfulness and nostalgia attached to the idea, as this data from our survey shows (for this report, we polled 1,006 adults in the U.S. and the U.K. using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool). But adults often find it hard to give themselves permission to play, says fun theorist Bernie DeKoven, who we interviewed for this report. He urges saying yes to fun more often and embarking on what he calls the “playful path.”

Marketers can help give consumers permission to indulge in this innate human desire. And given our predisposition to silliness and purposeless activity, brands can help bring spontaneity back into the consumer’s world.