Saturday, November 27th, 2010
Poorly chosen gifts have reached new heights in Australia, with the cost of unwanted gifts last Christmas reaching an estimated $1 billion.

Experience Gift experts are leading the charge against unwanted gifts and clutter this year, calling in consumer behaviourist and futurist Ross Honeywill to help customers re-assess the meaning of gifting.

Honeywill champions a new breed of revolutionary consumers called NEOs (New Economic Order) who are pioneering gifting. Innately socially progressive people, NEOs are motivated by: authenticity, being edgy, taking the path less travelled, individuality, looking beyond getting a discount and expressing themselves in the gifts they choose to the ones they care about.

Embracing the NEO gifting approach would mean the 43 percent of Australians who currently store their unwanted gifts away in cupboards would be saved the pressure of adding to the stockpile of ‘stuff’ in their homes. Unwanted gifts1 range from the mundane to the awkwardly tacky: hankies, tandoori spice rub for chicken given to a vegetarian, a dog bowl for a dog-less recipient, a brick, cellulite cream and inappropriate sexual gifts.

Honeywill believes society has lost the meaning of gifting. “Gifts have become symbols of obligation – tied to events such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day - rather than being genuine symbols of caring. The gift has become an outcome of responsibility and peer pressure, and therefore no imagination or caring is required.”
Honeywill, co-author of NEO Power, spent seven years surveying hundreds of thousands of people around the world, examining social and behavioural characteristics. He observed the emergence of NEOs who comprise around 4 million people in Australia.

According to Honeywill, NEOs represent the direction society is heading, with NEOs looking beyond the traditional orthodoxy of price and a good deal.

“NEOs look to purchase imaginative and creative gifts because they view them not as a response to a social obligation, but as an opportunity to be creative, imaginative and truly express their feelings.”

Jemma Fastnedge, General Manager of, agrees. “Gifts are meant to be treasured. If they are hidden away in cupboards or re-gifted, they are not delivering on their true purpose. That’s why we have seen a surge in people opting to buy experience gifts at RedBalloon. Through an experience gift recipients create memories they continue to share with loved ones.”

Feedback from a satisfied customer Kevin, from Knoxville Victoria illustrates the impact an experience gift can have on a recipient. Kevin was given the gift of a Holden V8 Super Drive and Ride experience by his wife for his 50th and 60th birthdays.

“For my 50th my sons came and watched me on the racetrack. They all wanted to have a go after watching! For my 60th, when my wife offered me the choice of a jet fighter flight in Tasmania or another V8 drive I wanted the drive - on the condition that our three sons would join me on the track. We all had a ball! The text messages between all of us since the have been related to the drive and the day. We now want to go back to the Go-karts to see who is the fastest on a track,” says Kevin.

RedBalloon’s top five tips on how to put the meaning back in gifting this Christmas are…

1) Get to know your recipient: Facebook! 29% of shoppers last year visited their friends and families Facebook pages to get ideas for what to buy them. If you snoop around their “Likes” and interests you’re bound to get ideas. But the biggest gold will come from their status updates.
2) Celebrate their Uniqueness: Make it personalised. There is always more to someone than meets the eye, so why not celebrate their idiosyncrasies with a gift as unique as they are? If they have a passion for fast cars it might be hot laps in a V8 Supercar, or a chocolate tasting workshop for the sweet tooths, or even a tiger moth flight for someone that always dreamed of being a pilot.
3) Don’t add to their pile of stuff: The initial thrill of a material object wears off, but happy memories form experiences never fade.
4) Take a punt and get creative: The traditionally ‘safe’ gifters can be relieved by the fact that you can exchange for free at RedBalloon, so it is ok to take a punt and surprise the recipient with an imaginative experience as opposed to what has been ‘tried and tested’.
5) Give them memory capital – Give an experience they have always wanted to do and they’ll relive it afterwards with their loved ones, like Kevin from Knoxville VIC did with his sons. As Psychology Professor Thomas Gilovich said recently in a CNN interview3 “experiences tend to live on in the stories we tell and they provide more long term satisfaction.”


Contact Profile

RedBalloon has been giving people the chance to fulfil their dreams for nearly a decade in Australia and New Zealand. With thousands of Unique Gift Ideas & Experience Gift Vouchers like Race Car Driving, Hot Air Ballooning, Horse Riding on the Beach, Tiger Moth Flights to Massages, Romantic Dinners and Getaways. RedBalloon Experience Vouchers, Gift Certificates and Gift Boxes can be purchased online or in selected retail outlets. If you're really excited about the holiday season - you can even start browsing Christmas gift ideas now.
Kate Rolfe
P: 0287550034
M: 0412043236

P: 0287550034


redballoon, gifting, gifts



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