The Fun Theory is a website dedicated to the idea that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different…”

It issued a challenge, inviting the public to submit ideas for the best way to make good-for-us things – like throwing trash in the bin, or recycling glass bottles – fun. Check out the videos of General Entrees and Finalistst, which include a Diet Elevator and a Future Ex-Smoking Helper. Our favorite: this video illustrating how to make walking up stairs more fun than taking the escalator: make the stairs into a giant piano!

There’s even a Pinball Exercise Machine, though we don’t think it’s quite as much fun as Fred Astaire’s Fab Gym Workout (posted last week).

With heartfelt thanks to Andrea Raisfeld.

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5 replies on “the fun theory of doing things that are good-for-us

  1. While the videos (and the idea!) are great, I think the article should mention that it isn’t just a website dedicated to this idea, but “an initiative of Volkswagen”. Its marketing, trying to improve the image of the brand, not by standard ads (which are to obvious and annoying), but with a clever idea.

  2. Love the post, though it is startling to learn the context from Lena, above. However, that doesn’t change the idea’s cleverness. (Wonder if Volkswagen got it from the Tom Hank’s film Big where he and Robert Loggia play Chopsticks by jumping around on a long flat keyboard at FAO Schwarz.) As to its effectiveness, would many people climb this staircase more than once or twice, thus affecting their health long term as the website seems to suggest could be the effect? Hmmmmm! Anyway, thank you for introducing me to this and to Fun Theory, Sally.

  3. Hi Lena, Thanks for your comment. We thought of mentioning Volkswagen but didn’t think it really mattered (except that perhaps we should have given them credit for a good idea). It is a good idea and made us think. And Volkswagen’s presence on the site is really pretty discrete. Also, we’re thinking FINE if a corporation thinks up an idea that adds something to the world…for us, better than an ordinary ad. We can choose if we want to pursue or not…

  4. @Sally. Yes, it doesn’t change that it is a good idea, but I think it is important to notice such things. Maybe it is because I studied communications & media for a year, but I am really aware about things like advertisment & marketing. I do enjoy a good ad or a brilliant idea by a company, but its important to know why they do this cool things- to improve their image & therefore their sales. If you are aware of this things you can better control how they influence you. Its not necessarily wrong if your image of a company improves because of their cool marketing stuff or ad, as long as you know it. Its the unconscious aspect of it that bothers me.

  5. I hear what you’re saying. Thanks!

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