Escapism and Magical Thinking
Since the beginning of mankind, humans have marveled at the magic of the universe. But as we’ve evolved, once-mysterious phenomena have been explained by science. Today, there’s little we feel that we don’t know—or can’t be Googled to find out.
The digital world has created a both a wise and cynical generation who are increasingly exploring “unreality” for freedom, truth, and meaning. Among Millennials, there’s an emerging appreciation for magic, non-dogmatic expressions of spirituality, and other forms of escapism—not surprising when you consider that this generation grew up with Harry Potter and the post-September 11, dystopian vision portrayed in the Hunger Games series. This renewed interest in new age thinking is a natural fit with the wellness and beauty industries who have been among the first to embrace alternative ideas.
We always believed that cosmetics could work a certain magic, but skin care brands are taking alchemy to new levels by infusing powdered minerals into soaps and lotions. Brands like Prismologie, Gemstone Organic, Gemology, and Wild Medicine, are blending gemstone essences and minerals into their products with the promise that these products will work on an energetic level to dispel negativity and introduce the “vibrational energy” of the crystals to the user.
Spas that once only cared for the body are now soothing the soul. Wellness centers are introducing sound therapies as the next iteration of social meditation. Singing bowls, gong baths, and tuning forks are being added to yoga classes and used during massage and facials to bring their healing vibrational powers to the client. Likewise, progressive health and wellness destinations, like Canyon Ranch, are offering weekend-long retreats to help guests discover their spiritual path.
The desire to escape the reach of Wi-Fi and other digital distractions is powering a trend for psychological “drop out” practices that focus on clearing the mind. Consumers have gone beyond yoga, exploring meditation through apps, and giving new life to practices like transcendental meditation, and quiet circles that offer a temporary break from the chaos of the connected life.
Although in its infancy, virtual reality will offer another option for escapism—albeit one that’s fueled by the same technology Americans are trying to escape. Ironic as it may seem, virtual reality may present a platform for users to become part of fantasy worlds they can help to create and have never-before-imagined experiences. Developers are already developing wearable devices that emulate the sense of touch in the VR experience. As the technology evolves, the opportunities for brands to insert themselves into virtual stories may be limitless.
Beauty, wellness, and travel brands are in a unique position to connect with consumers through the magic of virtual reality and products and services that introduce new age thinking. Although the concepts can bring serenity to consumers, brands can’t afford to rely on crystal balls or tarot cards to foresee the future. At Women’s Marketing, we rely on data-driven analytics and consumer insights to predict trends and how consumers will take action with your brand. Contact us today to learn how we can help your brand with strategic media planning and persona based marketing.
Source: J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, Unreality Next-Gen Fantasy, Utopias, and Unquantified Landscapes in a World of Hyper-Digital Realism, May 2016