Fun Is a Great Motivator (For Now)

You don’t have to look too far to find examples of emotional appeals in advertising – especially when the message concerns health and lifestyle changes. “Feel good when you work out at the gym”… “be ashamed of your gambling addiction”… “take pride in your active lifestyle”… “feel guilty about verbally abusing your children”… and so on.

I remember being taught in Introduction to Psychology in my first year of university that aiming for a better outcome (achieving an A grade) yielded greater results than trying to evade a worse outcome (avoiding a D grade). No wonder I’m a bigger proponent of positive reinforcement than its alternatives!

The question is, why not use fun as a motivator? Watch this first video to see how to encourage people to climb the stairs rather than ride the escalator:

Now watch this second video to see how to persuade people to wait at an intersection instead of jaywalking:

What a great motivator! Fun is a unique reward that is effective with diverse audiences and offers significant results. I’d only caution against depending on campaigns and programs like these, expecting them to have lasting influence once the novelty wears off.

Still, fun might just be the missing piece when it comes to inspiring lifestyle changes – and it took these two auto makers to prove the point! How ironic!

4 thoughts on “Fun Is a Great Motivator (For Now)

  1. Even if the fun wears off after a while, it’s a great way to make people think without feeling guilty, and if you can inspire them long enough to form a new, positive habit, I’d say you’ve won the battle.

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    • Exactly! Sometimes success in communications is as simple as having caused the audience to stop and think, or maybe to have shared the experience with someone else and caused them to consider the idea. The first step towards behavioural change is becoming aware that there are alternatives.

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