If you “play to” someone you are behaving, performing or doing something in a way that pleases people and gets their approval or convinces them. To “play to” can also be to appeal to, especially in satisfying a need that someone has.
1. As an English teacher I play to peoples’ need to learn English in a global community; where English is becoming more of a “must” rather than an option. In doing so, I remind and focus my students on their objectives and how English is so important to their future.
2. If you tell someone exactly what they want to hear, you are playing to their sense of insecurity and might be giving them an inaccurate idea of their ability. We need to be honest in our opinions when people ask for them, otherwise we will just be flattering them, which is not sincere.
3. When any politician is running for office; whether it be for President, Mayor, Governor etc., they play to peoples’ hopes and dreams - and many times make some promises that they will probably not be able to fulfill. Everyone wants a change in the right direction, and so we vote for the person who we think will bring it to us.