Taking Heritage Brands Online
 

Taking Heritage Brands Online

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This presentation aims to help IP owners assess how children of today want to experience heritage brands in the digital space. Using models developed by Dubit we look at how children are consuming ...

This presentation aims to help IP owners assess how children of today want to experience heritage brands in the digital space. Using models developed by Dubit we look at how children are consuming heritage IPs and how this can influence digital adaptations.

The presentation was presented by Dubit in 2013 at the iKids conference in New York, Sheffield's Children's Media Conference and Digital Kids in San Francisco where we were joined by Brad Jashinsky, Director of Digital Media for Summertime Entertainment - the team behind the forthcoming film Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.

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    Taking Heritage Brands Online Taking Heritage Brands Online Document Transcript

    • Taking Heritage Brands Online Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online Presentation takeouts: - Which heritage IPs are most in demand - How kids are consuming IPs across platforms - How audience engagement informs the adaptations of heritage IPs - An adaptaion model for de-risking the process and ensuring you meet audiences expecations - Examples of how kids would adapt a number of heritage IPs in a way that would make them consider paying - Including Brad’s experiences when designing both the digtial and non-digital elements of Summertime Entertainment’s Oz franchise Co-presentation: Peter Robinson, Head of Research, Dubit uk.linkedin.com/pub/peter-robinson/3/585/699/ @PeterRobinson81 Brad Jashinsky, Head of Digital, Summertime Entertainment
    • Questions we get asked 1. How do we find the new IP we should be investing in? 2. We have a series of IPs, which should we be investing in? 3. We are adapting a IP, how can it engage the audience? Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online So let me start with some of the questions we get asked and I am sure many of you also ask or answer... In no order of importance, but perhaps in an order of logic How do we find Angry Birds before it becomes Angry Birds? Which properties, that we own or are interested in owning, have the most potential to engage an audience And once we have found or chosen that property how should we develop it in a way that most engages our target audience and of course...
    • Questions we get asked 1. How do we find the new IP we should be investing in? ...and how do we make money out of it 2. We have a series of IPs, which should we be investing in? ...and how do we make money out of it 3. We are adapting a IP, how can it engage the audience? ...and how do we make money out of it Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online
    • Questions we get asked 3. We are adapting a IP, how can it engage the audience? How do you take a heritage IP online Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online And today we wanted to focus on how to take a heritage IP online
    • He-ri-tage “Something that is passed down from preceding generations; a tradition.” Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online Before I start talking about heritage, how is it defined It is traditions, stories, toys, films, books, TV shows, games that have been enjoyed by one generation and then past to the next.
    • He-ri-tage 1989 Dubit - 1937 2012 Taking Heritage Brands Online In 1989 my brother and I began to read the Hobbit, which I received as a Christmas gift. The Hobbit is the christmas gift I have owned the longest. However this book is no longer in my book shelf, its in my 5 year old nieces who loves it, proven by her worryingly accurate and scary Gollum impression And its not just my niece, as part of most in-home immersions sessions we conduct with families we use the very innocent sounding, but messy media sort. We basically ask kids, before their parents stop us, to empty their book shelves, DVD collections, toy boxes - all over the floor. Its a great way to allow them to control the discussion guide by allowing them to categorise entertainment in a way that makes sense to them - not to us - and talk to us about what each category means to them. And almost every time we conducted this process we found a special pile - this pile was the ‘classics’ pile. Famous Five books, Thundercat DVD’s, original Star Wars toys, youtube videos of the Mysterious Cities of Gold - all of this entertainment handed down from parents and grandparents And without doubt this ‘self-defined category’ was the one that kids spoke and parents about with the most passion the characters, the theme tunes, the plot lines, the humour. And that set us off on a mission. We wanted to explore what kids and parents thought of heritage IP’s and how those stories could be told in the context of todays media experiences So we asked kids what heritage brands they would enjoy and parents what heritage brands they would like their children to enjoy.
    • Parents want for their kids 50% 38% 36% 25% 23% 23% Inspector Gadget Charlotte’s Web 21% 20% Popeye The Addams Family 13% 0% The Jetsons Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online We gave parents and kids a long list of books, toys, films, TV and asked what brands they would like to brought back. The Flinstones was without doubt the most popular amongst kids and parents, but this list includes brands that perhaps aren’t so mainstream today...
    • Top heritage for kids 50% 38% 25% 18% 13% 14% 0% Charlie & The Choc FactoryCharlotte’s Web Dubit - 13% 13% The Pink Panther The Berenstain Bears 11% The Jetsons Taking Heritage Brands Online and then we asked the kids what they would like brought back So we know that heritage IPs are popular, but what can digital add in the telling of these stories...
    • 86% of kids have crossed platforms 200% Film Online Book/Mag TV Toy 150% 100% 50% 0% Dubit - Star Wars Barbie Harry Potter Wimpy Kid Lego Ninjago Lego Friends LoTR Club Penguin Peter Rabbit Taking Heritage Brands Online Kids are crossing platforms all the time, searching for content on their favourite IPs They expect to access parts of the story immediately. One 10 year old boy in America who was reading Oliver Twist, didn’t want to read Oliver Twist the Sequel - he wanted to know if British kids were treat that badly. His narrative progression wasn’t linear, and where did he go for that content...online. And that’t the important moment, how do you help a kid who’s imagination has been sparked, continue that journey without interrupting the book or film experience Therefore when we talk about adapting a heritage IP we need to consider both traditional formats, but also that kids and parents place a value on extending the story online. Over the past two years, with the expansion of mobile and tablets, we are seeing younger and younger kids have more control over their digital entertainment they find and engage with. Its easy to find and its instant. The reason why heritage brands sit so well here is that they are trusted. Parents know what to expect and it means that they don’t have to look over the shoulder if they recognise theme tunes, noises or character art. But lets be serious here, you wouldn’t just go online because your audience expected you to, there needs to be a business model, a way to monetise it. So we wanted to ask how kids and parents would adapt some of their favourite heritage brands onto a digital platform, into a form that they would consider paying for.
    • Lenses Brand Source, Adaptations, Feasibility Audience Expectations, Culture, Consumption Dubit - Technology Gaming, UGC, Social Taking Heritage Brands Online Whether we are researching, advising on or actually building the digital product we look at adaptations through three different lenses - brand, audience and technology. Firstly the brand, its tried and tested, but what is it about the original brand, any subsequent adaptations that made it work and how feasible is to re-tell - for example do you own the rights to artwork and theme tunes We then pass it through the audience lense, who are they, what do they enjoy and most importantly what are their expectations of the brand Once we have done this we need to understand what technology can do to enhance the brand - does this IP need digital?
    • Brand wheel Components Personality Essence Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online In order to look through these lenses we use a brand model to understand exactly how the brand should be treated for this new audience on this new platform. And to understand that we look at three elements Firstly the components or DNA - this is all the detail that makes up that property. It is of course an almost infinite list, but at this stage we want to filter what kids think are the strands that are important to that brand. We then distill these, by focussing on those that are most important in the telling of the brand - the personality is the brain, the parts of the IP that communicate most clearly what it is about.
    • Brand wheel Components Personality Essence Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online Its essence we need to get to, this is the part of any story that needs to consistent in how its delivered. Its the uniqueness that helps that brand retain an audience, even when the delivery changes But what does essence mean.
    • The Essence of a Brand The relationship between characters Baloo - father figure, warmth Shere Khan - enemy, fear Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online The type of essence is different for each type of property, but it is also different for segments of the audience, for example some parts of the essence could be cultural or demographic We find that there is nearly always an essence which universally binds, whether it be a character, a moment, a tone, style or artwork. Here is Baloo and Mowgli, stalked by Shere Khan. Now for kids the essence of the Jungle Book, isn’t the characters in isolation, it is the relationships between those characters. The fatherly figure of Baloo, and the sinister Shere Khan who evokes a feeling of on edge. Difficult characteristics to capture in a game maybe. We spoke to some 9 year old girls suggested a solution. Rather than spend money developing a whole new game, they invented a shovel wear solution, they wanted to place Jungle Book content into existing titles. They enjoyed the ‘eeek’ feeling, the thought of being chased and potentially caught, This was the feeling they felt when watching the Jungle Book and also when playing Temple Run - an obvious extension for them. For the Baloo and Mowgli relationship, they thought of the singing and dancing and likened it to their own poor father who was incessantly nagged to get involved with Just Dance, 1, 2, 3 and 4. Why not have a Mowgli, Baloo dance off, with Mowgli’s bendy arms.
    • Today we will look at Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online So as part of our in-house research we looked at some of those loved brands that kids told us they wanted to play as a game and we asked some superfans to help us think about what these would look like as digital adaptations.
    • Components Components Personality Essence Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online Firstly we wanted children to dissect the brand. They had time to watch, read and play with existing brand material and we observed this. We then brought them in to talk through what they had learnt by creating collages and mood boards. We want to observe how they piece the brand together and then we ask prompted questions on parts of the story we think is important. At the end we have a mood board which shows all the important components, the visuals and any associated descriptive words, categorised in a way that makes sense to the kids. Together we created their own paper prototypes.
    • Components ar Ch ac rs te To ne Culture Setting So un d Dubit - ot Pl Taking Heritage Brands Online We then plot all the components of that brand, here are some of the values that came out, you may agree with some and may add others. But for the purpose of today lets work with these.
    • Culture Components Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online All of these are self explanatory except for maybe culture. By culture we mean, what cultural elements need adapting from previous versions to make them relevant to today’s audience. Let us take a look at Swiss Family Robinson
    • Swiss Family Robinson 1812 2012 “Poor animals” “The wife has no name, she’s called wife!” “The pirates in the movie.... hardly Jack Sparrow” Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online The animals in both the movie and book were not treat in a way that younger kids find acceptable, in fact it was a reason for why they would not recommend the story. I’m also fairly sure Johann Wyss did not campaign for equality. The ‘wife’, actually called Elizabeth was rarely seen from ‘wifely’ or ‘motherly’ duties. Not an acceptable representation for todays young people. The Disney movie went some way into bringing in a fairly boisterous young girl, but even she was primarily used as a love interest. Talking of the movie, the pirates were a welcome page to screen adaptation, but Jonny Depp has somewhat changed todays expectations of a pirate. And finally modern technology has made it kind of tough to get lost from society. In fact I would expect quite a few people in this room would love the idea of being stuck on an island with no outside world contact. We need to understand that from a cultural perspective if the story can be told and is relevant to the audience. All of these cultural differences in fact offered enhancement opportunities.
    • Components ar Ch Fem ac rs te a Taking Heritage Brands Online Then we begin to fill in the whole wheel. Setting s-J te o arr p ck S So un d Dubit - ne ales Animal treatment Pira To w ot Pl
    • Hu mo ur st k Isolat Pirates William beth Eliza z Frit e Ern Jac z an Fr Em Ni ily p Fan s gs ion Components c Le Fema le A n/ e iev h ar Island s Animal treatment ck - Ja s Ship w rro Spa Hom e irat P Laught er so un ds Ne w Dubit - rv ned roo Ma W Su nships Relatio life ild e Taking Heritage Brands Online Here are the core characters and other components the children identified. iva l
    • Filter Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online Once we have all of the components we begin to look at how strong the influence each of these components have on the overall telling of the story. For example how often does each component correlate with another component.
    • Personality m illia W t nes Er Le ar n/ Ac hie lat ve ion Iso Home d ne o aro al M iv urv ships S on ati l Re Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online We are then able to filter the components that have the strongest influence on the story.
    • Personality n/ Ac hie lat ve ion Pirates Iso so un ds d ne o aro al M iv urv ships S on ati l Re Taking Heritage Brands Online But there maybe something we miss, that kids don’t talk about... Home Ne w Dubit - ar Island Females m illia W t nes Er Le
    • Things kids miss Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online For example one thing we missed when we were working with the BBC on developing Muddle Earth, a popular animation series and book. Was Dr Cuddles, he’s the little guy in the brown cloak, his cackle. His cackle made kids laugh every time and it would have improved the gaming experience. Which is why we work throughout with the creative team to ensure that not only do we have the audiences imagination, but also the folk who actually know how to tell the story.
    • Essence Pirates n/ Ac hie lat ve ion Iso so un ds Home Ne w Dubit - ar Island Females m illia W t nes Er Le d ne o aro al M iv s urv hip S s ion t ela R Taking Heritage Brands Online We then test these with the kids, how important are they to the story and why What we now have are the values that need to be incorporated into any adaptations - the essense.
    • Swiss Family Robinson - Adaptation 1812 Dubit - 2012 Taking Heritage Brands Online So what did that mean for the Swiss Family Robinson. These girls saw it more as a Zelda style game, with Earnest as the main character, completing missions that you could level up through skill based tasks you completed and the assets you collected. You had to understand something to complete it, then that would allow you to further understand and progress at something else. So if you wanted to eat you would go through a process of problems - you collect wood, to start a fire, kindle and a magnifying glass to light it and then you could hunt, cook and eat. Yes it would have to be modernised to the more swashbukling Disney adaptation, with Jack Sparrow, but the flow of the original IP would for the most part remain the same. The mission, to be learning and become self sustained to survive So at the end of that process what did that mean for Thundercats and the Lion the Witch and Wardrobe...
    • Thundercats - Adaptation Fun Original artwork Original theme tune Good Vs. evil Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online Thundercats provides us of an example of an adaptation that at least in one kids mind was not quite right. He had been given the original 36 episodes by his parents, who were big fans from their childhood. He took pride in explaining that he watched all 6 series, 6 episodes per series, 30 minutes per episode, 1080 minutes of Thundercats.... all in one day - that doesn’t leave a lot of time for sleeping A great indicator of his dedication to Thundercats. So he loved this, he connected with his parents he was part of a ‘club’. A club that his friends were not yet part of, but that didn’t matter. What did matter is that once he’d finished the series, in record timing, he was hungry for more and not wanting to give up his prized DVD collection, he told his friends to check out the new series and they reported back with disdain. So he checked it out himself and boy was he disappointed when he found the new series. The artwork for a start was a big step backwards for him, it had lost that feel. But most importantly for him it had made some faux pars, inaccuracies and it was in the detail. The characters had guns, but to him that made no sense and his friends agreed. These were cats, living in a forest, they didn’t need guns, the only characters in a forest that should have guns, were poachers and these cats were no poachers.
    • Thundercats - Adaptation Viral Episodic Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online But there was one other fundamental point, there was now no-one to talk to it about, to share it with. So what does this mean for how the show should be designed and most importantly how it could be shared. For him the most important element was retaining the original content that had captured his imagination - that was the the story arc and the artwork. He was passionate that that game follow the original series structure. In fact he designed an episodic game, with each ‘episode’ following the same structure and characters as the animation series. He suggested watching the episode, in conjunction with the game level. This episode would be the content he could share with friends, probably through youtube. Only once you had been taken through those 1080 minutes of gaming, would you be allowed to free-play in the Thundercats world. This was a step from their other gaming influences such as Skyrim and Minecraft, which were very much about free play and mastery. But for him what is critical is that the game tied in to the story, so his friends could understand what was so great about the original Thundercats. And once they’d mastered that, they would then be able to freeplay and create their own stories within the game world. One more thing, it needed the original theme tune and opening scene. That created the buzz, perhaps the moment they would share in the playground or on YouTube and for the parents the acknowledgement that their child was finally playing something they understand.
    • Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe - Adaptation Scale Creepy creations Exploration Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online But the richness of a cross platform extension isn’t always in replicating original content in another form, or re-living the content. You can go beyond and add to the story or universe. Think about that kid who through Charles Dickens became interested in how different it was to grow up in the UK. The Lion the Witch and Wardrobe has been told recently through long films and for many children and parents in long books also. Everyone knows the characters and narrative., but the essence was the vastness of the world and the sheer variety of the characters within it. They suggested not playing as the core characters and re-creating the story that has been made, but making their own story with the world. Their solution was to play as the bad guys. Not only was the Witch and all her creations fun, their story had never really been explored in the same way. They were looking for new parts of the story, a spin off, in which they could roam the world and create their own adventures - in this case stop the good guys. They begin to explore which parts of the story would be a great entrance point and much like Tom Stoppard’s Hamlet extension Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, began to turn minor characters and plotlines into the main focus of their game. A true trans media experience. I am now going to pass over to Brad, who will recount his own experiences when working on another of the great stories - the Legends of Oz
    • Brad Jashinsky Director of Digital Media Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online The story continues…
    • Legends of Oz Transmedia Franchise • • • • Dubit - Continues the story of the Wizard of Oz with Dorothy, Toto, Lion, Tin Man, and Scarecrow Film: $70 million dollar animated feature film (May 9th, 2014) Digital: Legends of Oz World Virtual World and mobile apps Retail: Extensive international licensing and merchandise partners Based on the books by Roger Baum, great grandson of L. Frank Baum Taking Heritage Brands Online
    • The Big Question Why are we using a heritage brand? • • • • Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online Built-in audience? Great characters? Unique story? Interesting setting?
    • The Characters Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online
    • The Setting Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online
    • The Story Character Growth Point A Point B Surprising reveal at the end Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online
    • Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online
    • Questions • • • • Dubit - Who is our target audience? Is there an audience outside that target? What can we assume our audience knows about the brand? Is there a new story to tell that can directly involve our audience? Can we connect directly into the heritage of the brand? Taking Heritage Brands Online
    • Don’t Assume 10% Open Beta Players 40% Adult Women Children Other 50% • Our target audience for the franchise is 6-11 year olds, but 40% of players in our open beta were women over 40 • Dubit - Our target audience didn’t know the story, but they did know the characters Taking Heritage Brands Online
    • To be remembered, tell a story • • • • Dubit - Come up with a new story that preserves the essence of the brand Create a story bible and have a writer turn that into an extensive script Bring the characters to life using professional voice actors Use music and sound effects to enhance the setting Taking Heritage Brands Online
    • Capture Nostalgia Can you quickly introduce the essence of the brand while creating nostalgia for those familiar with it? Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online
    • Our Takeaway • • • Dubit - Research and understand the heritage brand Don’t assume the audience remembers everything or anything about the brand Depending on the brand, focus on the characters, story, and/or settings Taking Heritage Brands Online
    • Thank You @peterrobinson81 @Dubit & @DubitGames @bradjashinsky Peter Robinson, Head of Research, Dubit Limited Brad Jashinsky, Director of Digital Media, Summertime Entertainment Dubit - Taking Heritage Brands Online So my key takeouts are Find the smart kids, and less of them, who really have a vested interest in what happens to your brand Let them know what you are doing and why you need their support - its not about money, its about passion and collaboration Make sure that the research fits into the creative process and the audiences lives Do develop heritage IPs online, kids and parents are crying out for it Make sure it is authentic.
    • Dubit: Research, Build & Launch digital experiences for kids brands Kids Research Kids Game Development • Market analysis • Prototype and concept testing • Competitor analysis and market scoping • IP / trend spotting • Design & ideation • Monetization strategies • Ethical marketing • Transmedia modeling • Game design and ideation • Character and brand design • Game development • Virtual Worlds and Casual MMOs Kids Apps • iOS and Android games • Interactive storybooks Launch • Game promotion and player acquisition Dubit - 43
    • Dubit: Just a few of our customers Dubit - 44
    • Dubit: Get in touch! If you’d like to know more about what we do checkout our website dubitlimited.com or send Matthew an email: matthew@dubitlimited.com. We love to talk! Address The Half Roundhouse Wellington Road Leeds West Yorkshire LS12 1DR Phone (+44) 113 3947 920 Email matthew@dubitlimited.com Dubit - 45