Inc. Magazine Names Immersive Youth A Top Youth Marketing Blog

TextingOur Immersive Youth team got some exciting news! Inc. Magazine has named us one of the Top Youth Marketing Blogs to watch in 2016! Needless to say, we are pretty excited to be in such great company with other digital youth firms like Ypulse and YouthBeat! 

The Inc article cites our Gen Z and Millennial Youthvine platform as a key differentiator from other digital youth agencies:

"What sets the company apart is Youthvine, its proprietary online community. Youthvine is a forum driven by young administrators.

It is coordinated to allow owners to communicate with next ­generation buyers. IYM's agency establishes the relationships, but Youthvine creates a unique experience to engage the new age."

Thanks to Dave Kerpen and Inc for including us on this list! And check out some of our work for a few of our clients, like Walt Disney World, Disney Yellow Shoes Creative Group and Funny or Die! And if you have a Gen Z or Millennial project you need help with, give us a shout out!

How Kids Content Will Drive Adoption of Virtual Reality

I stumbled across this really terrific image from article on the life cycle of virtual reality in the kids education and entertainment market--well worth reading for anyone involved in the kid/tween/teen media and education worlds. 

"Once the VR space takes hold, kids will ultimately become "world-smiths," as they create immersive social experiences utilizing powerful, easy-to-use tools found on 3D user-generated content platforms.

These platforms will empower children to create and distribute VR content for consumption by their peers."

It's Approved! New Kids & Social Media Patent!

Derek.e.baird.patent.socialmedia.disneyOne of the patents I worked on while at The Walt Disney Company (TWDC), Dynamic Trust Score for Evaluating Ongoing Online Relationships, was just approved by the U.S. Patent Office! It was a team effort and centers around kids, privacy and social media. I've included a copy of the full patent below!



A method is provided for a dynamic trust score for evaluating ongoing online relationships. By considering a plurality of user data variables and using validation data from internal and external database sources, a trust score with a high degree of confidence may be provided for establishing and verifying online relationships.

Since the trust score may be dynamically recalculated periodically or on demand, the trust score may also validate over continuing periods of time, as opposed to conventional verification systems that only validate at a single point in time.

Thus, a higher degree of safety, reliability, and control is provided for online services directed towards children or other user classes that may require greater protection.


 Dynamic Trust Score for Evaulating Ongoing Online Relationships by Derek E. Baird on Scribd

Meet Adam Meltzer: Your "Neurotic Zombie" BFF

2015-09-18 00.41.47-1Jeff Norton Shares the 'Memoirs of An Neurotic Zombie'

I was first introduced to Jeff Norton’s writing a few years back when we connected over on Twitter. At that time, Jeff had just finished his popular MetaWars book series and I bought a copy for my nephew who absolutely loved the book (no small feat!)! Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie

He read them almost as fast as Jeff could write them! And even though I’m not really much of a science fiction kinda guy, I also really enjoyed the MetaWars books too!

(Sidebar: I’m more of a campy science fiction kinda guy, think Lost in Space, Robot Apocalypse, The Jetsons or Guardians of the Galaxy. So imagine my delight when I heard that Jeff’s new book, StarPressed, is an homage to that particular niche of science fiction! But I digress...)

Last week Jeff tweeted about the release of the second book in his Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie series and I knew I had to give it a try. I immediately downloaded the first Neurotic Zombie book on my Kindle.

And guess what? I loved it! Yes, even more than Plants vs. Zombies!

So What's This Book About?

Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie  follows the story of Adam Melzer and his two (misfit) friends, Corina and Nesto. It’s an exciting, yet very humorous and witty, adventure that is sure to capture the attention of even the most tech-obsessed kid. And as a bonus, old people will love reading this coming of age (zombie) tale too!

Adam, the main character and neurotic zombie, is just your average middle school (kinda) weird kid who, after being stung by a robot zombee (bzzzz!), finds himself, well, uhm.....Hashtag, #Awkward.

I’ll let “Adam” explain it to you.


Why You’ll Love It

  • First and foremost, Neurotic Zombie is a really fun book to read. Your kids, especially boys who often find it difficult to find books they enjoy reading, will rapidly embrace the story and will readily swipe to the next page to see what happens to Adam, Corina and Nesto.
  • Jeff does a fantastic job creating characters that kids will want to know more about. Adam,  and his weird kid posse, are characters that are really likable. Young readers will quickly develop a bond with with these characters and feel invested in the outcome of the story.
  • As an author, Jeff has mastered the Pixar and DreamWorks skill of developing kids entertainment content that both kids and adults will love.

    His witty use of wordplay, smart humor and double entendres will make kids laugh. And adults will especially enjoy the delightful chapter end notes--which I promise, will make you literally, LOL.
  • The series is perfectly situated to be the next big thing: It’s no secret that streaming media outlets are on the hunt for kid friendly content and Neurotic Zombie is ripe to be a snapped up by studios at Netflix, Amazon, Apple, HBO or the Disney Channel. Heck, this would be a great movie on the big screen!

    So why not jump on the Adam Melter bandwagon now, so you can brag about it later on Twitter? #TeamZombee
  • Like me, you’ll find yourself really caring about these characters, and wondering “How Can I Help Adam?” You’ll also find yourself thinking about Adam when you forget to refill the rinse aid in the dishwasher! (Read the book--it’s an Adam thing!)

Get the Book on Amazon!

If your kids are fans of Hotel Transylvania 2, they will LOVE Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie. In fact, use their love of the movie as a gateway to get them interested in reading!

So, go grab a copy of the book, throw in some Pop Rocks (what else would a vegan vampire eat?!), Purell (Adam’s right---GERMS people!) and Febreze (sorry, Nesto!) and immerse your kids in the snarky, fun and slightly creepy world of Adam, Nesta and Corina---trust me, it’s chupra-rrific!

Connect with Author Jeff Norton

State of the Kids Digital Space, Apps & Media

YouthNation_LivestreamAlison Bryant and Paul Levine of children's digital research company PlayScience present their latest findings on kids and digital media at Casual Connect in San Francisco.

Not surprisingly, most children hear about new apps from their friends, especially as they get older, though younger children are more likely to learn about new apps from their parents.

Here's the executive summary of the PlayScience report:

PlayScience: Kids, Apps and Digital Media

Here's the video of the PlayScience presentation at the Casual Connect 2015 Conference in San Francisco.


Thanks to Scott Traylor of 360 Kid for the video!

Oculus Story Studio: Meet Henry

Henry.oculus.story.studioOne of the strongest applications of VR is its potential for emotional connection through character driven storytelling. Turns out the team at Oculus also see's the power of digital and virtual storytelling on a platform like Oculus.


Oculus Story Studio’s latest VR experience, ‘Henry’, a heartwarming comedy about a loveable hedgehog, coming later this year. ‘Henry’ is directed by Ramiro Lopez Dau, whose work includes animation on films such as Pixar’s Brave and Monsters University.


Meet Henry from Story Studio on Vimeo.

Henry is a lonely, spikey hedgehog who is having some trouble finding friends, and I can't wait to tell his heartwarming story. Oculus Story Studio has recently announced that they will be premiering "Henry" in Hollywood on July 28th.

You can meet Henry by visiting

STUDY: 59% of 8-14 Year Olds with Smartphone Use Chat Apps

WhatsappNew research from UK-based digital marketing platform SuperAwesome, which currently houses the largest kids research panel in the region, maps out a compelling crop of comparative digital kids data from 2009 to 2014. 

The survey contains lots of really interesting stats on kids gaming, social networking and mobile habits, but one of the most interesting statistics comes from the data regarding chat apps. Back in 2009, MSN dominated, but now kids have shifted their loyalty to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

So while kids may not be using Facebook, they are using Facebook products (FB Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp) as primary social networking and communication tools. It looks like the great unbundling of Facebook strategy may pay off and keep younger users in the Facebook mobile ecosystem. And mobile ad network. (Shock! Awe!)

The other big take away is the shift from passive consumption of media to an active embrace of maker culture. Kids are creating movies and publishing them on YouTube, creating worlds in MineCraft and embracing LEGO more than ever.

While this data is primarily focused on kids in the UK, I would garner that data from U.S. kids would closely align with the SuperAwesome findings. 

Kids Trends: 2009 vs 2014

Trend Watch: Disney's 'Little Mermaid' Second Screen Live iPad Experiment

Little.mermaid.second-screen-live-disneyWhile broadcasters, social networking and tech start-ups have been experimenting with second screen and other social entertainement experiences, they've been pretty much confined to TV viewing at home through social tv apps (like GetGlue or IntoNow) or social networks (Facebook and Twitter).

Disney aims to change that by bringing an interactive and second screen experience to the movie theatre!

On September 20th, Disney Studios wants you to bring your iPad with you to the special screenings of The Little Mermaid to interact with the film, play games, sing along, find new surprises and compete with other audience members.


Trend Watch: Children’s Virtual Worlds 2011 Report

image from Scott Traylor, founder of 360 Kid--the award winning kid focused content and technology company--has put together an exhaustive study of the state of kids virtual worlds. It's an impressive report.

According to Scott, "the most popular destinations for both kids and adults are “casual gaming” destinations. For kids and tweens, that means Wizard 101, Poptropica, Club Penguin and Moshi Monsters (which was just valued at $200 million).

While social and chat-based destinations like IMVU and Hi5 fall in second place for the young adult and older crowd, destinations that have a toy tie-in or real world connection, like Webkinz and Build-A-Bearville hold second place for kids and tweens.

However, this VW/MMO type has been on a slow two-year decline, largely as a result of Webkinz loosing significant marketshare over that period, to newcomers like Wizard 101 and Poptropica.

While Club Penguin has dropped in placement on the best top 10 list for kids, it has done a surprisingly good job of maintaining marketshare, loosing only a small percentage compared to Webkinz."

You can read the entire report over on Scott's 360 blog. And while you're there, don't forget to subscribe to his RSS feed and follow him on Twitter!

Togetherville Named One of the 10 Most Innovative Companies in Education

Togetherville.logo Fast Company just released its list of the most innovative companies in the world, and Togetherville ranked #5 on their education list! Other notable mentions on this list include LinkedIn and the Discovery Channel.

To learn more on how Togetherville, the social networking site for kids,families and teachers, is building a platform for these communities to share and express their thoughts on educational issues, click here.

Congrats to the Togetherville team!

ABC Introduces Social TV iPad App for "My Generation"

As more and more people get iPads and other multiplatform devices that allow them to sit on the couch and socialize with friends while watching their favorite TV shows, traditional broadcast media outlets are looking for new and interesting ways to connect viewers to their programming and make it a more social experience.

Earlier today, Disney/ABC Television Group and The Nielsen Company announced the debut of ABC’s first-of-its-kind “My Generation” Sync iPad App that is designed to enhance the experience of watching ABC’s new show, “My Generation.” My_GEN_iPad_app

Completely free to download and use, this innovative app makes watching “My Generation,” which premieres next Thursday, September 23rd at 8pm ET/PT on ABC an interactive experience.  

The “My Generation” Sync app provides exclusive content and social media functionality on the iPad in real time as viewers watch the show – whether they watch it live or on DVR.


Using Nielson’s Media-Sync Platform and audio watermarks, the app automatically synchronizes with the television show and allows viewers to unlock content such as polls, trivia, behind-the-scenes info and more.

As we look to the future of TV, consumers can expect more interactivity, personalization and portability that allow viewers to easily consume TV entertainment on devices other than the glowing box in their living room.

For younger viewers, television is a much more interesting and socially interactive experience when they can watch a show and discuss it in real time online with their friends. So it makes sense that ABC is looking at this trend and created this iPad app to provide younger viewers with a social tv experience.

The app also allows users to interact with other viewers through their various social networks as they watch the show. The app is free and available to download in the App Store on iPad.

Trend Watch: Disney to Launch 'Disney Junior', A New Channel For Preschool Set

DisneylogoMoving aggressively to expand its hold on children’s entertainment, the Walt Disney Company will close its SoapNet cable channel and replace it with a service aimed at preschoolers.

In 2012, Disney Junior will take the place of SoapNet, a 10-year-old channel devoted to soap opera reruns that is available in about 75 million homes, according to Anne Sweeney, co-chairwoman of Disney Media Networks.

The new Disney Junior brand will also provide affiliate partners with a robust Video-On-Demand offering, a High-definition network and a Spanish language SAP feed.

Disney Junior's animated and live action programming will blend Disney's unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills.

Disney’s current preschool operation — a block of programming on Disney Channel and about two dozen Playhouse Disney international channels — will be re-branded Disney Junior starting next year.

More on New York Times >>

Network With Youth Brands at the 2010 Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup

The 2010 national Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup is where today's top brand, corporate and social marketers, media professionals, educators and non-profit organizations gather to share best practices, research and latest strategies on marketing to youth with technology.

This is the event where you'll find out what leading-edge technologies youth are using today – and will be using tomorrow. You'll also get an insider's view into youth-focused tech and media startups and learn how to leverage social media, gaming, virtual worlds, mobile and more to authentically reach youth.

The Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup will be held on May 24-25 in San Francisco! You still have time to register, so come join us!

Event Program | 2010 Ypulse Youth Marketing Mashup

Weekly Wrap: Hello Kitty Death Watch, University Ditches Kindle, Facebook Community Pages, Disney Tweets, Social Media ROI, Digital Parenting & More!

Barking.robot.iconFor Many Blacks, Twitter Enables a Vibrant Social Life: Some researchers have surmised that African-Americans might use Twitter more heavily because they use it in a more conversational way than other groups.

Twitter's "trending topics" - popular subjects on a given day - often center on issues African-American users are tweeting about. [NewsObserver]

Instead of Banning Your Kids from Social Networks, Consider Teaching Responsible Usage: I’m glad my parents didn’t ban me from them. I’m glad that my parents taught me basic principles to live my life by, principles that have served me both online and offline.

They weren’t particularly tech savvy. They didn’t hover over me at all moments. The family computer wasn’t locked down and it didn’t have any monitoring software. But, they taught me how to be safe as a kid. []

More Cyberbullying on Facebook Than Rest of the Web: Thirty-two percent of online teens have experienced some form of harassment via the Internet, a problem also known as "cyberbullying."

According to recent data, 15% of online teens have had private material forwarded without permission, 13% have received threatening messages and 6% have had embarrassing photos posted without permission. [NYT]

Facebook Privacy Research: There is significant concern about the exposure of personal data to facebook’s advertising partners and to external sites, often governed by the decision of friends rather than the personal subject of the data. [Frances Bell]

Hello Kitty Death Watch: Hello Kitty fatigue is hitting Japan first, and hard, the company indicated. Analysts say part of the problem is that Sanrio has oversold Hello Kitty, which appears on products as various as T-shirts, toilet paper and toasters. [NYT]

How Facebook’s ‘Community Pages’ and Privacy Changes Impact Brands: While there’s been plenty of coverage about user privacy concerns, attention on Facebook’s changes on brands hasn’t been adequately covered, this analysis is intended to unravel what’s at stake –and what brands should do.  I’ve spoken to a handful of brands and their representatives to learn what’s eating at them. [Web Strategy]

Tweets From Disneyland: Our weekly roundup of some of the best--and the worst--tweets from the park that's only sometimes the happiest place on earth. [OC Weekly]

Business School Ditches Kindle DX: The Kindle isn't doing as well in academic environments as Amazon—and educators—had originally hoped. The Darden Business School at the University of Virginia is near the end of its Kindle "experiment," already concluding that students are not into the Kindle when it comes to classroom learning. They are, however, fans of the Kindle when it comes to using it as a personal reading device. [Ars Technia]

The Real ROI of Social Media: If you're asking the ROI question about social media and expecting to be able to show it all on a spreadsheet, you're still looking at social media as a channel, most likely for just one or two business functions, such as marketing or recruiting.

While it's true that social media can be used in that way, it has become something else entirely: an essential communication utility. What's the ROI of the telephone? Or email? It's a ridiculous question, right? [American Express OPEN]