Taking the stairs instead of the escalator is something we always heard from our doctor, or seen in a magazine. But most of us don’t heed the warnings. This is just one of the obstacles that The Fun Theory took on. “The Fun Theory” was created by Volkswagen Sweden and ad agency DDB Stockholm as a competition to recognized that “fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better.” One of Volkswagen’s fun theories included was the Piano Staircase. The theory was that people would take the stairs more often instead of the escalator or elevator by making the staircase “fun.” The hypothesis propositioned that by making a staircase more fun to do, people would stop using easier ways of transportation, such as escalators. By promoting the use of stairs, we could eventually improve the health of others by promoting an active lifestyle and a good well-being.
Volkswagen decided that persuasive technology could convince people to begin to use the stairs again. The concept was for each stair in the subway staircase to produce various sounds when pressure was applied to their surfaces, as a piano would if it was being played. The randomized controlled experiment took place at the Odenplan subway station in Stockholm, Sweden, next to an escalator. A group of randomized unsuspected subway commuters were tallied as they were given the choice to take plain steps or an escalator. In the second trail, another group of randomized commuters were give the same option, but with musical stairs. This left people with the choice to either participate in the giant musical steps or to use the escalator.
In the concluding video you can see that more commuters became interested in the musical staircase. The resulting video showed that the interactive staircase persuaded 66% more people than normal chose to use the staircase instead of the escalator.
Although there could have been a third variable involved, such as more active people commuting on one day instead of the other, or the role of chance coming into play, the statistics are strong and would be very interesting to see in a more controlled experiment.
The goal with these fun theories are to promote Volkswagen’s new environmentally friendly BlueMotionTechnologies brand. DDB Stockholm quotes that “as traditional advertising is becoming less effective, and the competition in the market for environmentally sound cars is becoming more fierce, we believed we needed a more innovative approach to draw attention to BlueMotion.” Although Volkswagen’s main goal is to promote their new car, they bring up a very goo theory. That making this fun can promote and teach the world. He also goes on to say that “[Volkswagen’s] experiments and our Fun Theory films make the world a better and more fun place to live.”
Watch the video to see how fun can transform people’s way of thinking and doing.