Imagine a future that values play more than work.

Funomenon describes a future where consumers have had enough of life's seriousness: instead, they seek a sinfully good life. What does this mean? It means regular & controlled ways to escape, using play as a crucial antidote to the stresses of modern life.


Why is this important for Brands?

Consumers will actively seek out play & escapism: from phygital food to multi-sensory experiences & nostalgic comforts, there's a whole world of magic out there for brands to create and for consumers to play with.

What's driving all of this?

We are living through a time of backlash: from wellness culture to the culture wars. Consumers have hit a saturation point, they've had enough of the constant bad news in the media – from war & environmental collapse to inequality & pandemics. Life has become overly serious. People are craving a return to play!

Consumers are looking to infuse their lives with joy again. They want brands to be transparent but also need a balanced life where positivity outshines endless negativity. They want to switch off from passive consumption of the media's bad news to actively seeking escapism: turning off, relaxing & enjoying dedicated moments of play.

Data shows that this is happening right now:

Consumer desire for hedonistic play is currently emerging at the margins, but it's gradually seeping its way into the mainstream:

Adults who have playful personality traits aremore motivated, creative & spontaneous

Play is hugely important - and not just for children. As the BBC reports, adults with playful personality traits are more motivated, creative & spontaneous and enjoy lower blood pressure. 

Nearly 2/3 of corporate executives think that companies should speak out on social issues

Research conducted by Brunswick Consulting found that whilst 63% of corporate executives unequivocally agreed that companies should speak out on social issues, only 36% of voters agreed the same.

#nightlux has had over 141.3 million views on TikTok

Various media outlets, from Elle to Business Insider, are reporting on the rise of the #nightluxe aesthetic: a movement which signals a significant 'vibe shift' away from wellness towards hedonism. Inspired by 1920s-era excess, this visual movement - which features darkly lit scenes, alcohol and glamorous surroundings - is trending across social media.

"Play is the basis of all art, games, books, sports, movies, fashion, fun, & wonder—in short, the basis of what we think of as civilization. Play is the vital essence of life. It is what makes life lively."
Stuart Brown MD
'Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul'


How can you encourage more playtime with your consumers and create positive connections that may take a moment, minutes or more but can last a lifetime?


Insight activation sprints: Turn your insights reports from something that goes on the shelf into a cultural movement that quickly gains traction and ignites a chain reaction within your business.

We activate insights within your business by creating immersive storytelling experiences that inspire teams to act on the insights you've invested a lot of time and money in developing. Our activation sessions start by immersing your cross-functional teams in concise and actionable insights. We then get participants involved in activities designed to generate fresh ways to apply the insights to current work streams and future business plans.

Brand Exemplars

The Funomenon trend is beginning to emerge across many different sectors of consumer life, from media to food & drink and even VR:

Hallucinatory dining

Australia's Higher Order is a series of multi-sensory experiences combining design, performance & food. Scent, sound & taste together create a culinary 'hallucination', surrounded by an immersive space featuring art, performance, lighting & installations.

Sonic seasoning

Scottish distillery Gordon Graham & Co created a multisensorial 'sonic seasoning' experience using sounds to change taste & enhance everyday rituals & experiences; the brand worked with University of Oxford experimental psychologist Charles Spence to create a Spotify playlist that would alter the perception of taste when drinking its new whisky, Black Bottle's Alchemy Series.

Astronaut-level awe

Meditation is about to go psychedelic as Tripp acquires the world's largest VR meditation community, EvolVR – an “XR wellness and digital psychedelics platform". Wellness sessions by EvolVR use meditation techniques, binaural audio & breathing exercises to inspire awe, wonder & relaxation, such as floating in a fictional galaxy hovering above the earth.

Taste the rainbow

Experience design studio Bombas & Parr recently created the world's first flavour rainbow installation at London's Royal Docks; the experience featured bespoke light refracted through flavoured moisture that appeared multicoloured to visitor's eyes.