Wunderman Thompson Intelligence’s ‘The Age of Re-Enchantment’ report revealed that nearly 65pc of respondents expressed a desire for brands to wow consumers with spectacular advertising, indicating a growing appetite for captivating experiences delivered by companies. Meanwhile, 61pc want brands to help them feel intense emotions, and 63pc want companies and brands to provide multi-sensory experiences.
Twice as many respondents said they are likely to buy from brands that bring them a sense of joy (49pc), or those that surprise and delight them (45pc) than from brands that just do what they say they will (26pc). More than half of consumers want to live in a world where brands think giving customers goosebumps is an important metric.
The survey of more than 3,000 adults in the UK, US and China by global futures and trend intelligence unit, Wunderman Thomson Intelligence, found that whether numbed by pandemic isolation, burned out by grind culture, or shocked by the 21st Century horrors of politics, war, and climate crisis, people are yearning for wonder, the spectacular and even the otherworldly in their lives.
The research, from Wunderman Thompson, found 93pc of people believe that life is short, so we must make the most of it. 89pc currently see fun as a necessity that keeps them going in trying times, while 83pc are actively seeking out experiences that bring them joy and happiness.
As per the report, more than three-quarters of people now say they “just want to feel something, to feel alive” and 74pc say they feel like they are waiting for something good to happen. The study also includes interviews with Gen Z-ers from 17 different countries around the world, alongside in-depth expert interviews with thought leaders across a range of fields including psychology, neuroscience, technology, architecture, and design.
The survey found 76pc agree that when something is magical it allows them to escape from the mundane and nearly half of those surveyed (48pc) say they tend to avoid things that are predictable and formulaic. Perhaps surprisingly, this is also driving an increasing love for dystopian TV shows, horror movies and podcasts about the supernatural, for example. Half of respondents say they are fascinated by content that explores dystopian themes or futures and 55pc agree that horror provides an opportunity to experience fear in a safe environment (rising to 65pc of generation Z) and more than half of people say they enjoy feeling a few goosebumps every now and then (57pc), especially millennials (67pc).
“Uncertain times might imply a shift to a more practical attitude, but instead people are yearning for emotion-inducing experiences that deliver feelings of joy and wonder, craving the spectacular, the surreal, and the otherworldly,” says Marie Stafford, Global Director, Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. “The new brand metrics are jaw drops, heart swells, and goosebumps. Brands can help people transcend tough times and jolt them from long-standing malaise by celebrating the thrilling, the uplifting, the awe-inspiring, and the magical. Welcome to the age of re-enchantment!” she added.
View the report here.