The “F” Word Returns
It’s back… the word no self-respecting company or producer would use for several ‘pre-covid’ years. It was the dirtiest word, particularly bad for corporations to infer it in their event strategies and event design, and it could never be considered for inclusion as an essential ‘value-add’ for attendees.
When Fun Went on Hiatus
The ‘F’ word was removed from pitches, strategic development, event development and the customer experience. Your mouth was washed out with a theoretical bar of soap for even suggesting it (for all of us old enough to remember being threatened with this as children)…It was all business…never could you utter the word…..F – UN!
For many years, corporate event planners and event planning companies were instructed to focus on education and professional development.
Attendee interaction was all about the learning experience. Having FUN at an event became synonymous with waste: a waste of the organization’s money and the attendee’s time.
The FUN element was tucked away in the dark corner of ‘necessary evil’ at corporate, academic and non-profit events.
We Are Wired for Fun
One universal positive takeaway from the pandemic years was the reevaluation of what was important to us as individuals. As the months dragged on, our fast-paced lifestyle became a distant memory, and our time and freedom became more precious.
Our values changed, and we were no longer chasing the same dreams and ambitions of climbing the corporate ladder or being perceived as consummate professionals.
These were distant ambitions. It quickly became acceptable for the cat to walk across the desk or have your child on your lap during a virtual meeting… simply unheard-of pre-March 2020… norms were broken, and expectations altered forever.
The Fun Is in the Reinvention
Many of us reinvented ourselves, bringing new activities into our lives such as baking, cycling, walking, inventing games to keep the kids amused, and finding FUN ways for them to learn. Suddenly we all missed FUN…FUN with our friends, FUN with our colleagues, FUN with our kids, the FUN of travelling… so much FUN that we took for granted was removed without us even noticing it was there in the first place.
When Fun Made a Comeback
In 2022, live events came back, after two years of virtual events…the desire for those interactions of the past became the number one priority for corporations and organizations to bring their people back together with meetings and incentives. Suddenly, one of the major priorities for the event was to ensure that there was FUN in the program.
For all creatives and event designers, this was music to their ears…once again, we can plan for engaging, entertaining ways to deliver messages and experiences, and for attendees to be openly having FUN.
Case Studies Are Fun: Pepsi
An excellent example of FUN is with our client, PBV (Pepsi Bottling Ventures), where we had such enjoyment delivering this program in 2022, using the theme of ‘WE ARE PBV’ and all the trappings that this take on ‘TOP GUN’ would allow with the confines of copyright compliance. There was a subject matter-relevant tagline of ‘THIRST FOR ADVENTURE,’ and the opening general session and key messages were delivered from the FLIGHT SCHOOL complete with costumes and rehearsals – with all participants having such enjoyment in the process. The theme was carried across the whole two-day meeting and awards dinner, and it was such FUN not just for the attendees but also for our production team and event planners. The event ended with a pinning ceremony, where all attendees graduated “Flight School” and earned a pair of their very own PBV branded wings!
Create Enjoyable Events
For every event in development, the inclusion of attendee enjoyment, not just attendee engagement, is high on the priority list. Everyone is overjoyed…we all want to have FUN in what we do. This post-pandemic brave new world is truly just a return to the great days of having themes, activities and merriment that almost disappeared when the ‘F’ word was not an option. Long live laughter!