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Creating a connected entertainment ecosystem for Unilever

Creating a connected entertainment ecosystem to encourage physical activity in kids.

Long standing success with Unilever on leading brands such as Lifebuoy and Lux had led to a multi year relationship with their leading ice cream brand Paddle Pop.

Paddle Pop had grown beyond ice cream, becoming a globally successful kids entertainment brand, when we were approached to continue this success with a new approach across multiple digital channels.

Building on a relationship that started with the Paddle Pop Begins theme back in 2011, four years later the brand was keen to take on the challenge of a new landscape of ‘always on’ kids entertainment where simple YouTube videos and interactive games were no longer having an impact.

Beginning with Paddle Pop Magilika we were challenged to create a new engagement opportunity that would complement existing video, games and web channels.

Initially working on concept creation we hit upon an idea to create an interactive ‘World of PaddlePop’ that would become the new destination for immersive gaming, building on the enormous success of similar platforms such as Disney’s Club Penguin.

We partnered with Singapore based games developer Magma Studios to design and build an immersive online world where kids could play safely with other kids.

Ongoing iteration and improvement

Given the incredibly varied markets Paddle Pop operates in I led numerous research projects to ensure the ongoing relevance and success of the digital engagements we created.

I set up focus groups with kids in Singapore to understand their motivations in regards to online gaming, this helped lead to several improvements particularly within the Play Band work we undertook. We also utilised these focus groups to test early concept ideas with our target audience, this helped us create more meaningful concepts and final products for our regional user base.

A lot of the outputs of these sessions led to further work on the Paddle Pop brand – the endless runner game was one such example of this – insights uncovered through the focus groups led to a viable business case for the move to mobile gaming.

Multichannel engagement

World of PaddlePop grew into a regional (later global) platform that connected kids across cultural and language barriers allowing them to communicate in their own language through safe chat.

To continue the success on mobile we created an accompanying endless runner game ‘Max Dash’ that allowed kids to earn points in both the online and mobile games.

This engagement then led to further conceptual work on ‘Play Band’, a wearable activity tracker that again allowed kids to turn physical activity in the real world into virtual points and coins in the online world.

Primary research

I led experience and visual design for Paddle Pop Magilika (2014) and Paddle Pop Atlantos (2015).

Key to the success of Paddle Pop each year was the definition of new elements within the existing game journey.

For Magilika in 2014 this was the creation of World Of Paddle Pop – a multi player online game where kids from all over the world could play online with each other in an immersive game environment that encouraged teamwork and problem solving. The success of this platform led to ongoing creative development in 2015 with the Atlantos theme.

The 2015 brief also challenged us to create extensions to the experience with the introduction of ‘Play Band’ – a wearable activity tracker.

We were tasked with exploring useful integrations for Play Band within the World of Paddle Pop – we created an ecosystem where kids activity in the real world could be converted into meaningful rewards in the online world.

As an addition to this we also designed an endless runner game that gave the Paddle Pop brand its first real success on mobile.

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