O Mindfulness Benefits

The Joy of Missing Out: Brands Inspiring Us to “Unplug”

In today’s digital reality, technology enables us to exist more connected than ever before. But with constant stimulation, technology has also created a culture of digital noise that can be difficult to navigate, let alone unplug from. As digital distractions continue to increase, even digital natives are starting to crave human engagement. Several brands have recognized this shift and are engaging their audience by speaking to the value of “unplugging”.

Whether it is putting our phones down to appreciate the art of conversation, shifting our focus from sharing online experiences to sharing moments in real life, or finding time to reflect and recharge amidst busy schedules – consumers are disconnecting to reconnect with the world beyond the screen.

Enjoy Now, Share Later

Infamous for its heartfelt, human-centric messaging, Coca Cola approached the value of “unplugging” with their “Stop Phubbing Around” video – a call for viewers to get offline and get social the good old-fashioned way. A two-minute collection of sentimental “real life” moments paired with digital terminology, the campaign reminds us that it is the people behind the devices who truly matter. It portrays the importance of appreciating experiences as they happen before succumbing to our desire to capture them online. By focusing on the tension between online interaction and personal connection, Coke’s messaging resonates with consumers across generations by inspiring viewers to enjoy life in the moment (with a Coke of course!).

Last summer, Canon Australia launched its Canon Shine competition to encourage more meaningful photography in a world of digital hyper-documenting. Canon challenged Australians to take a picture of what matters most to them and used the winning submission to create a powerful video highlighting the photographer’s message: take a moment to put screens down and be a part of the world. The video captured businesses across Australia that offered incentives, such as free coffee, fares or entry, for customers that put down their phones and went “screen-free” during the experience. Playing off the conventional norm of promoting a campaign hashtag, Canon’s video ends with an adapted call to action: “Go screen free. There is no URL. There is no hashtag. And if you like it, talk to someone about it.”

In a busy world, make time to unwind

The concept of “unplugging” isn’t just about limiting “screen time” or practicing digital detox – it can also refer to taking a break from our fast-paced lives to recharge, reflect or engage our minds in a different way. The Wall Street Journal recently launched its “Make Time” campaign, in which it follows the daily routines of industry leaders, such as Tory Burch, highlighting their commitment to make time in their busy schedules to read the Wall Street Journal. The campaign not only positions the iconic newspaper as an invaluable resource, but also encourages its readership to “make time” to pause, quiet our minds, and explore our intellectual curiosities.

Chipotle took a slightly different approach and used its packaging to encourage consumers to reflect. By featuring two-minute essays from influential writers, authors and thought leaders on the restaurant’s cups and bags, Chipotle’s “Cultivating Thought” campaign seeks to ‘provide a little analog pause in an otherwise digital world’. With a combination of creative design and top tier literature from a line-up including Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison, Paulo Coelho and Aziz Ansari, Chipotle inspires its customers to take a break from their phone, and discover a story in an unexpected place.

Technology has empowered us to connect and operate in ways that enrich our lives every day. But technology is limited when it comes to exchanging emotion, and Millennials are becoming more attuned to the value of real conversation in a world of digital noise.

Millennials will continue to live a digitally focused lifestyle, but their appreciation for more personal, authentic interaction creates an opportunity for companies to position their messaging around values that resonate on a deeper level. For brands looking to cultivate a loyal community of consumers, it is important to remember that behind the device, the handle, the email address, or profile page, there is a person – start with what matters most to them.