The Experience Economy is alive and kicking: witness the slew of Nike Towns,
Toys 'R' Us, Sony Buildings and what have you opening up all over the world.
However, with many consumers in North America, the EU and South East Asia feeling increasingly saturated when it comes to mundane consumer products, and with experiences gaining omnipresence (Volkswagen now treats buyers of its luxury Phaeton model to a 36-hour 'Ubergabe show' in its futuristic, Dresden-based 'Transparent Factory'), the experience economy goes from delivering surprise to becoming a hygiene factor: consumers get used to being entertained while parting with their money, whether they are purchasing a bag of groceries, a city trip or a top of the line automobile.
In fact, providing an experience may soon be about providing an excuse for seen-it-all consumers who feel 'plain' consumption is purposeless, repetitive or even sinful. Hence EXCUSUMPTION: consumption validated by a framework of excuse-experiences, to not only entice consumers to spend, but also to provide them with a personal alibi to embark on what they know is in essence another purposeless shopping spree or weekend trip.
A telling example of EXCUSUMPTION is the growing number of villages, cities and countries branding and 'theming' every available weekend, season or calender year: Kalgoorlie-Boulder in Australia has events highlighting the International Year of Fresh Water (last year, Australia's tourism industry rallied around 'Year of the Outback'), London celebrates the Teddy Bear Centenary, 'Romancing Singapore 2003' is well underway, and New Zealand is 'Lord of the Rings' country this Summer.
For smart marketers, it may be time to come up with smart excuses!