Playland recommends scream time over screen time

Who: PNE’s Playland, with Cossette for creative and strategy, with Boldly for production (directed by John Larigakis & Bill Hawley).

What: A new campaign for the iconic Vancouver amusement park, based on the idea that real-life scream time is better than screen time.

When & Where: The campaign is live now, and includes TV, online video, digital / social, radio and out of home.

Why: Cossette won the Playland account in 2021, when the amusement park was still dealing with the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic.

Last year, as Playland welcomed back guests in something close to normal circumstances, Cossette did a reopening campaign with a “Fun is back in fashion” theme (top right).

This year’s campaign is inspired by a rising societal concern made worse by the covid crisis: too much time on devices and screens, and not enough time out in the world enjoying IRL entertainment.

“PNE is launching the Playland 2023 season with a campaign aimed at both young adults and family activity-seeking parents who are navigating a world where virtual experiences are increasingly becoming the norm for fun,” said PNE marketing director Kim Vande Kuyt in a release. “We wanted to remind them that Playland hosts the kind of real fun that can’t be replicated on screens.”

How: The anchor ad for the campaign features an exaggerated representation of the problem: a teen boy so mesmerized by his phone that he’s actually morphed into an armchair.

When he notices the Playland rides, and hears the excited yells and screams through the window, he’s drawn out of his home, down the street, and into the amusement park—where he sheds his armchair body and is free to enjoy the real-life thrills of the park. Armchair debris scattered around him reveal that others have undergone a similar metamorphosis.

“We’ve all been glued to our screens these past few years, and while we don’t necessarily want to knock that, we do want to emphasize how very sedentary life has become at both work and play, and nudge people towards a real-life source of fun to break out of that cycle,” said John Osborne, group creative director at Cossette in Vancouver. “Playland is a Vancouver icon, so we’re thrilled to tell this story of swapping screen time for scream time.”

David Brown