“A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.”
— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Last week, I went to a little magic shop across the road from our office with the intention of buying a cheap trick to take home and dazzle my young sons with. The man behind the counter offered me a small empty bag. Now, I know how magic works, of course it wasn’t empty, but let’s see what he’s got. He pulled a little box of flowers out of it. I smiled and quietly laughed and said “Great, yeah something like that”. And then he pulled another box from it. The smile was no longer just a polite one. And then another. And another, and another and another.
The stack of flower-filled boxes now taller than the bag from which they magically emerged. And the result? a massive grin on my face.
Somewhere inside of me I’d had that moment we so rarely get when we see something that our brains just can’t work out — and I was filled with joy.
I bought the trick immediately. I didn’t even need to practice it before I took it around the office, showing off my newly found magical prowess and eliciting the same moment of joy from even the most unrufflable of the team here.
We’re all caught by surprise with a “how did they do that??” moment — a moment that really sticks with you. A moment that we automatically want to share just because that’s how humans work.
The next day I went over to Wimbledon to visit an experiential installation we’d created for WWF as a changing room of the future, complete with Augmented Reality mirrors that turn you into a sustainable-clothes wearing, tennis-playing robot. From kids on school trips to the policemen enjoying their new tennis beat — there was a universal reaction of a small smile. A testing wave. A bit of a dance. And then… a big, natural grin.
It turns out that digital has the power to create those same magic moments — when suddenly a well executed idea catches you off guard and triggers that moment where you lose the question in the joy of the answer.
That’s something we strive to create here at Manifest — moments that catch peoples’ attention and connect on a human level; where the engagement isn’t simply measured by a click, but by a smile. Where the sharing isn’t about sending a link, but the nudge of an elbow and the pointing of a finger. If you think the digital experiences that happen on our screens are fun and engaging — just try connecting it with the real world. That’s where the magic happens.
As for the trick I bought; my sons were pretty nonplussed by it — they’re kids, and apparently kids just expect magic to happen.
My wife though — she had a massive grin.