Giles Cattle, Head of Planning and Experience at Crown reflects on the power of play.

A design agency in West London has recently installed an adult ball pit in their offices, offering grown-ups a “seasonal creative recharge”. In addition to some great media coverage, and creating a meeting room even Google execs are probably jealous of , the agency has tapped into a consistent theme that captures all our imaginations; the universal appeal of satisfying our inner child.

It’s nothing new of course, and ad agencies have been and continue to target the kid in us all, evoking that state of mind where wonder and discovery go hand in hand, and we can experience something positive, but simple, with unbounded joy and pleasure. From chocolate to cars, brands talk to our inner child.

The scale and ambition of some of these brand executions makes you feel small again too; McDonalds installed an adult Playland in Sydney as part of an elaborate TVC in 2010, creating an immersive experience, a “place where you feel like a kid again”. As any parent will tell you, rolling around a soft play looking after your children has fringe benefits (as long as you remember to bring the kids in the first place – but in case you do forget, they’ll let you in here).

But what can you draw from this? Should you be pencilling a Ball Pit for the next conference or perhaps channelling Tony Hart with some messy team building?

Maybe. Perhaps more importantly though, is take away this simple truth; we’re just big kids really, and we respond to positive triggers. We need time to play, and simple interventions can create powerful emotional responses, affecting positive changes in audience behaviour. So when you’re next plotting a conference programme, a brand experience, or any other interaction, take time to look up. Engaging your audiences might just be child’s play.

This post was originally posted on Crown's Growing Brand Belief blog on C&IT Magazine.