Theorizing about Fun

I’ve been waiting to post until I catch up on reading my friends’ blogs, but I am realizing that if I do that I will never post.  Sorry Taylhis, Jamiahsh, JustJ, Whatever, and even MareMare whose blog I haven’t read in over a month!  Sigh… Where does the time go?  I have a couple of normal things I want to blog about, but that will have to wait as geek.com has just now posted on a third video from the maker of the car from the past we know as Herbie the Love Bug, Volkswagen.  They have decided to take up the cause of environmentalism and try to change people’s attitudes through what they call the Fun Theory.  A couple of weeks ago they started with trying to get people to burn their own energy by using the stairs instead of the escalator.  I remember my days of visiting malls and seeing the stairs used only infrequently when they were next to an escalator.  Often though, I would use the stairs simply because they were faster than waiting behind someone on the escalator.  Of course, if there was no one on the escalator I would climb up or down them like stairs to be even faster since the stairs were moving.  Anyway, see what they did in this video:

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Next, they added something to a trash can to get more people to throw their litter away:

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Just today I learned about their newest video.  This one involves a bottle collector, something I have yet to see around here.  For that matter, I don’t know of any sort of effort to collect recycling outdoors.  Many places like schools have some sort of indoor recycling of course, but that’s far from a large-scale municipal effort.  Is it just my area?  Surely we’re doing it somewhere in the US?  Of course, being a European company Volkswagen made these videos on the other side of the pond we know as the Atlantic Ocean, so it may well just be a European thing.  Meet the video game bottle collector:

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The videos are actually larger than the small window we get here on Tangents, so you will probably want to click on them to open them up on their Youtube pages.

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6 Responses to “Theorizing about Fun”

  1. Chris Says:

    An example of something obvious — that is good in THEORY. The fact that if something is fun it will be used more often is obvious. What isn’t so obvious is if the long term benefits of these “fun transformations” outweighs the negative. I have seen many of these type of gimmicks come-and-go. The question is not the obvious one “if we make something new-and-fun will people try it out”, the question is will it have a lasting effect. The answer is most likely no. Most of the FUN factor of these will be eliminated after a few tries. And the maintenance of these gimmicks will make them not worth the small long term benefit they provide.

    So, does making things fun make them more popular? That is obvious — yes. No theory to study there. Will they have a long term effect? Probably only in instances where the “fun theory” is new and unusual to the people. After using a sound-effect-enabled garbage can a few times…

  2. mary911 Says:

    Don’t feel bad about not reading my blog! My posts have been lacking in content and regularity for quite some time!!! I’m behind in reading everyone’s like you would not believe!!!! Anyway, it seems I’m going to be meeting the man behind the blog this weekend! The Chicago driving (or riding) terrifies me, but I’m sure my trusty pilot (whether it be Jamy or Meghan) will get me there safely!!! See you Friday!!!

  3. derek Says:

    Indeed- I was wondering if I had already met you on one of my trips over there, through WCCT or otherwise, and I guess I haven’t then- Friday it will be then.

    What you say Chris is definitely true, but it is interesting to see what VW comes up with each week.

  4. justj Says:

    I think that Chris has the right idea. How long will this work. I’d bet that the bottle toss ‘game’ would be the longest lasting hit. Look how long video games have been around… 😉

    As for the other two, I wouldn’t give them too long. I’d get tired of the stairs right away, but then I wouldn’t consider that fun.

  5. taylhis Says:

    I thought the videos are very fun – thanks for posting them! There are recycling centers in Michigan, but only because they have to pay extra for the drinks when they get them (deposit – ever seen a bottle that says MI 5 cents?). We Ohioans are obviously prohibited from using the Michigan recycling centers, but I did see others using them. Mainly, we just have curbside recycling on garbage day like most people.
    Wonder if the Stockholmians (is that a word?) are familiar with the movie Big and its over-sized piano playing scene.
    I like the fun theory. Though I wonder if looking at the steps might make more clumsy people like me susceptible to tripping? There is one guy who seems like he might be having some trouble. Otherwise, a great idea also from a tourism standpoint.

  6. derek Says:

    Definitely can’t play those piano steps like the keyboard in Big. I wonder if VW had insurance on that particular stunt? Hmm…

    Curbside recycling is great of course, but what about cans and bottles that people purchase and finish on the streets? Public recycling stations would be useful for these situations.