…because our culture is.
In some of my psychology classes, and the one education class I’ve taken, we talked about how attention spans are changing. They’re getting shorter, among other things. To deal with these changes, entertainment and leisure companies have to make changes.
I remember when I was younger and my parents kicked me out of the house during summer vacation and told me to go swim or walk or run in the yard. I had to entertain myself without a ton of electronic devices at my finger tips. Since I didn’t want to do any of the “exercise things,” I learned to love reading in the sun. Or just laying in the sun listening to the newest CD that I put on my super hip iPod. I could literally read books by the day and not move (which I’m pretty sure concerned my mother because I didn’t want to stop in the middle of a book to do something as menial as eat).
Anyway. Today’s kids want to be bombarded with stimulation. They like movies and games with action and loud noises. They like to go to theme parks on vacation and ride all the rides and eat all the food and hear all the noise and smell all the smells. All that is well and good, but companies are making changes to please these kids.
Vacation used to be about getting away and reconnecting with whomever you were vacationing with. Now, we can book vacations that involve so much, I wouldn’t really consider them vacation.
I remember one of the times we went to Disney, and we were up early every day (I’m not a morning person and I hadn’t yet discovered the wonder that is coffee) and we got home late every night and we were out all day. Now, don’t get me wrong, I had a blast. We got to hang out with our cousins and we got to see all the cool Disney things. But we were there for like a week, or 10 days, something like that, and by day three, I was ready to spend the day in bed, reading (that was the same time Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out and I just wanted to read it because I’d waited like a year for it). And we did actually take a day, which I did spend reading, but I remember my siblings and younger cousins played video games all day, I think. Or watched really loud action movies. Something like that. They didn’t want a break from the “action” so to speak.
As PR professionals, we have to be aware of the audience we serve and we have to make sure that our company (or service or ad) isn’t going to become white noise. And we have to recognize that the new generation of consumers has different expectations for leisure activities.