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Brief Published: 28 Apr 2020

Covid-19: Brands Keeping Kids Reassured

Responding to needs spurred by the pandemic, we’ve seen brands providing free resources to keep kids busy playing and learning. Brands and media businesses are also addressing another essential concern – emotional health – creating content to help young audiences understand and cope with unprecedented disruption and fear.

  • Brand Icons as Explainers: As noted in Cross-Gen Crisis Response, many parents need help in clarifying the crisis, especially for young children. A standout example comes from German toymaker Playmobil, whose robot character ROBert details the situation in simple terms via a five-minute stop-motion video. The English version on YouTube, posted on March 24, has 185,000 views.

    Catering to an already anxious audience – 70% of US teens report anxiety and depression as a major problem among their peers (Pew, 2019) – Netflix has partnered with Instagram on a weekly live series for teens called Wanna Talk About It? The Instagram show, running from April 9 to May 14, pairs mental health experts with stars of youth-appeal Netflix series including Stranger Things and Cheer, advising on issues like sleeplessness and staying connected while social distancing. See also Making Scenes, part of our Dynamic Youth: Gen Z Spotlight Trend, for more on teens, brands and mental self-care.
  • Kids Meditation Goes Mainstream: Last year we discussed how brands are adapting meditation for kids, and in January, Mattel’s Barbie started teaching mindfulness via a partnership with meditation app Headspace (see Toy Fair NY 2020). To help children weather the pandemic, Headspace is now working with iconic US kids show Sesame Street on animated shorts called Monster Meditations, where Muppets are coached through breathing and sensory activities to help manage feelings like frustration and disappointment. The first three-minute video garnered over 800,000 views on YouTube in its first week.
  • New Opportunity for News Providers: News organisations are also leveraging the crisis to build positive connections: US broadcaster NBC is currently testing an online-only version of its Nightly News for six- to 16-year-olds. The BBC kids site Newsround (which saw a 40% rise in visitors during the first week of UK lockdown), offers a dedicated coronavirus page, while the New York Times hosted a live Q&A for kids, featuring a science journalist and an infectious disease expert.
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