When school’s out and summer’s in, I inadvertently find myself hoping to catch a glimpse of Playland’s annual ad campaign. The advertisements first caught my eye a couple of summers back: while it was the playful colours that piqued my interest, it was the campaign’s effective simplicity that I found charming. Playland’s ads rely primarily on witty images that transcend words. Using the power of humour (plush toys vomiting stuffing) and familiarity (quintessential amusement park food) to their advantage, Playland has created a winning formula that inspires nostalgia for carnivalesque experiences people relate to. The ads have a way of capturing the precipitous feeling of screaming your throat dry, of your heart reverberating against your chest, of your breath getting caught in your throat. Indeed, outside of an amusement park context, such feelings should be the opposite of fun, bringing to mind society’s perverse behaviour of paying to get scared for entertainment. Luckily for Playland, on carnival grounds, all bets are off.

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