THE BATTLE FOR DIGITAL HAPPINESS


Audible launched a rather lovely new campaign yesterday focusing on the relative emotional benefits of spending time with their app rather than messing around on social media. It’s inspired by research from the Center for Humane Technology that found that Audible is one of the top apps for making people happy, while the likes of Tinder, Instagram, Snapchat and Candy Crush Saga had a rather less positive effect. (Incidentally Grindr absolutely blows the competition out of the water when it comes to app unhappiness, delivering an hour of misery a day for 77% of its users. They’ve gone straight to the top of our Business Development hitlist…)

Until recently, apps competed mostly on utility. The most popular apps single-mindedly didsomething for us. But they did so much for us that we stopped looking up from our screens, or talking to our families, or feeding our pets, or thinking about stuff, and suddenly we realised we had a bit of a collective problem.

So now the new marketing battle is for happy minds. It’s all about the brands and tools and content that help us look up and engage with the world around us, or talk to our kids, or actually feel something.

Our recent study on ‘home’ and what it means to people today showed just how much our ideal home is a place of mental wellbeing: it’s a sanctuary from all the noise, it’s a place to connect with our emotions, somewhere to reflect and make sense of the world. Ikea attributes its recent success to its new mission to build happiness through the things we put in our homes.

In our broadcast work, we’ve gradually seen television transform from being the enemy of family togetherness to the catalyst that brings us back together and gets us talking.

And Silicon Valley increasingly wants to be the solution, rather than the enemy of happiness and mindfulness. Facebook wants the time we spend with their platform to be quality rather than quantity. Google hopes its investment in voice activation, AI and embedded smart technology will help us all live lives that are more ‘heads-up’.

And even the next generation of smartphones are being sold on their ability to discourage us from actually using them quite so much.

It feels like the new marketing battle is not so much in our minds, but for our minds.

What do you think?