Wunderman Thompson Intelligence today releases ‘The Age of Re-enchantment’, a new report which explores how a tumultuous few years have left global consumers yearning for something more.

Having surveyed more than 3,000 adults across the UK, the US and China, Wunderman Thompson finds that more than three-quarters of people now say they “just want to feel something, to feel alive”. 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.
People have always enjoyed being transported, but crucially, there is now an appetite for brands to deliver this, with almost two thirds (65%) of respondents saying they want brands to wow them with spectacular advertising. Meanwhile 61% want brands to help them feel intense emotions, and 63% want companies and brands to provide multi-sensory experiences.

The report finds that consumers are craving experiences that deliver feelings of joy, wonder, magic, and awe, with some looking to darker thrills like the uncanny, surreal, and dystopian. Twice as many respondents said they are likely to buy from brands that bring them a sense of joy (49%), or those that surprise and delight them (45%) than from brands that just do what they say they will (26%). More than half of consumers want to live in a world where brands think giving customers goosebumps is an important metric.

Certainly, it seems that brands have an opportunity to help people transcend tough times and jolt them from malaise by celebrating the thrilling, the uplifting, the awe-inspiring and the magical, and can do more to deliver inspiration. Yet, few brands are tapping into this desire, as 7 in 10 cannot remember the last time a brand did anything that excited them. According to Wunderman Thompson’s data, 61% of people say that “companies and brands aren’t doing anything original” with more almost half saying they “feel tired and burned out all the time” and over two thirds agreeing that technology is making us “feel more detached from the real world.”

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.

Marie Stafford

Global Director, Wunderman Thompson Intelligence

Marie continued: "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!

As well as unearthing how consumers are seeking out thrills and adventure, the report offers a number of key brand takeaways and rich creative territory – from promoting full-spectrum emotion, escaping the rational, and even ‘going dark’. Meanwhile, unleashing the ‘Joyconomy’, building in moments of joy, play and fun can be a powerful strategy for brands to uplift and engage customers.

Wunderman Thompson saw the first shoots of this movement in this year’s ‘Future 100’ in the appetite for adventure and thrills in Remote Dining, in the craving for amazement in Multiversal Design, and in the burgeoning joyconomy expressed in Ageless Play. ‘The Age of Re-Enchantment’ report – which features 18 original trends backed by proprietary survey data, and interviews with 20 thoughts leaders in the space – sets out a path for brands to reflect the new mindset, and re-enchant the world.

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