Abductive Columns

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Experience Economy=

* In Scottsdale, Ariz., a dentist has turned his office into an artificial jungle, which makes children look forward to their dentist appointments. The “jungle dentist,” as he is called around town, has taken “an inherently bad experience and, through them, turned it into an experience that people want to go to,” explains Gilmore.
* The American Girl Place in Chicago charges school-age girls and their parent’s admission to see a musical review and dine in a themed cafe based on the American Girl dolls and books. “They can spend hundreds of dollars in the American Girl Place for experiences and they haven’t yet bought a thing,” Gilmore said.
* Some malls have switched from having a department store as the “anchor” attracting customers to having a skate park, gym or an amusement center like Dave & Busters, Pine said.
* In Germany, you can visit the Volkswagen plant that is making your customized car. After touring larger-than-life displays of the inner workings of an engine and other attractions, the finished car emerges through a cloud of smoke from beneath the showroom floor to the cheers of onlookers. About 40 percent of the people who tour the isolated plant have no intention of buying a car. But if they buy one as a result of the experience, Pine said, “they have purchased a $20,000 piece of memorabilia.”
* In Japan, a water attraction offers visitors a controlled, artificial beach environment, complete with wave pool, artificial sunlight and sand that won’t stick to your feet. The popular attraction is located a mere 400 yards from the real beach.
The experience economy is not entirely new. In fact, Walt Disney pioneered experience marketing in 1955 when he opened Disneyland, which was intended to “immerse the audience in the cartoon.”
Now the Disney Co. and others have taken experience marketing a step further to mass customization -- in which each visitor can customize an experience to his or her preferences. At Disney Quest in Chicago, visitors can create their own roller coaster -- and ride it -- through virtual reality.
The Internet will take mass customization to new heights, Pine predicts, “…because anything you can digitize you can customize.” New Internet technology is moving in the direction of “full sensory phenomena online,” Gilmore said. It is now possible to transmit the senses of touch and smell digitally, he said.

Does any of this matter to Christians? Should the Christian community see itself in the business of providing spiritual experiences for seekers or is the concept foreign to the gospel?
Taken from an article by Greg Warner, titled--It's the experience, stupid!


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