The Power of Play: Sqord Gets Kids Up and Healthy

 

Sqord.Points.KidsHealthSqord is an motivational entertainment company that creates fun, social experiences for kids and families around healthy habits.

The company's first product is low cost wearable device tightly coupled with  an interactive mobile game app to inspire and reward healthy, "active play." Together, the Sqord Activity Pod and Sqord Game App provide kids and parents with a fun and convenient way to encourage kids to get up, get active and get healthy

Sqord is all about encouraging group play as a way to build healthier kids - – physically, socially and emotionally. One part social community, one part fitness tracker, one part game – Sqord tracks movement in the real world and converts it into Sqord Activity Points that kids can use in the Sqord App to unlock cool new features such as messaging and sending high 5’s to friends, upgrading their PowerMe avatars and much more.  

Kids can compete with their friends  - or the world - in head to head challenges on the Sqord leader board, encouraging friendly competition and motivation – all in a 100% safe, easy and fun experience built just for them.

Sqord App Features

The Sqord Activity Pod tracks movement in the real world and converts it into Sqord Activity Points that kids can use in the Sqord App. The more Sqord Activity Points they earn, they unlock more and more cool interactive game levels in the Sqord game app!

  • Kids can create and customize their very own PowerMe character inside the online world. 
  • The Sqord Activity Pod inspires, motivates and tracks your play— converting that play into Activity Points. Use points to unlock cool new features such as messaging friends, upgrading your PowerMe, and much more!
  • Compete on the Sqord leader board and in head-to-head challenges with your friends -- or the world. Parents can also set goals for their kids and create unique Awards to further incentivize healthy active play

 

 


I AM THAT GIRL & Alessia Cara Launch "I AM YOU" Empowerment Campaign

I.am.that.girl.

Non-profit organization I AM THAT GIRL joins forces with 20-year old EP Entertainment/Def Jam Recordings global sensation Alessia Cara to create the “I AM YOU” empowerment campaign. The powerful message of Alessia’s new single “Scars To Your Beautiful” is the lynchpin behind her alliance with I AM THAT GIRL, the national movement that has been inspiring girls for the past six years to love, express, and be who they are through a global peer-to-peer community committed to creating a new norm for girl culture by raising the standard of how girls treat themselves.

“I AM YOU” launches with a short video directed by Kim Jacobs, which delivers the meaningful message of empowerment, strength and inclusivity using a striking visual. The piece, which is narrated by Alessia and features a musical soundbed from her powerful self-anthem, reinforces the message that while we have our own unique stories, we are all connected by the universal truths that make us human.

In the film, a rapid montage of girls of varied ages, sizes, and races flashes by, seamlessly composited together as if they are all speaking as one person, creating an extraordinary focal point for the singular voice that connects them all.

Jacobs shot around 50 young women over the course of one day, including a series of stills set to the playback track of the scripted voiceover. Most of the talent already were members of IATG chapters or volunteers, along with others who ended up taking the IATG pledge after wrapping the shoot.

“The stills were transcoded to feel like motion. Then the process of cutting between the faces required sensitivity, precision and a crazy amount of patience,” explains Jacobs. “Matching three girls blinking their eyes within a second of film is work for only warriors. We worked with the team at EXILE to fine-tune the edit until we finally struck the perfect balance of technique and humanity.”

“In any given second there are multiple faces cut to appear to be one person. I thought this would be a really strong and beautiful way to communicate the core ethos of I AM THAT GIRL,” says Kim Jacobs, who co-wrote the script with IATG Co-founder Emily Greener.

“It takes so many people to make something, especially in film, and all the people involved in every single part of the process were essential to the outcome. The I AM YOU film was generated from pure love.” - Kim Jacobs

 

“Scars To Your Beautiful” was not only used for the film, but also inspired IATG and Alessia to create an action-focused curriculum for young women everywhere, to shift girl culture and help them transform self-doubt to self-love. The conversation kit, which is downloadable at iamthatgirl.com/alessia, centers around five primary interactive meeting topics, each cued by a lyric from “Scars.”

 

 


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!


IBM Watson Creates First Movie Trailer by AI for "Morgan"

Morgan.ibm.watsonHow do you create a movie trailer about a fictional artificially enhanced human? You turn to the real thing - artificial intelligence. 
 
Scientists at IBM Research have collaborated with 20th Century Fox to create the first-ever cognitive movie trailer for the movie Morgan. 
 
Utilizing experimental Watson APIs and machine learning techniques, the IBM Research system analyzed hundreds of horror/thriller movie trailers.
 
After learning what keeps audiences on the edge of their seats, the AI system suggested the top 10 best candidate moments for a trailer from the movie Morgan, which an IBM filmmaker then edited and arranged together.
 
Check out the AI-Created trailer below to get ready for MORGAN in theaters this Friday, September 2!
 
 
 
Related Links

How Kids Content Will Drive Adoption of Virtual Reality

I stumbled across this really terrific image from www.roadtovr.com 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."
 
 

REPORT: Ads and Media Contribute to Boys' Body Image Pressure

Ken1Credos, the advertising industry think tank, surveyed 1,005 boys from primary and secondary schools around the UK to explore their attitudes towards advertising and body image; focus groups with boys aged 8 to 18 and with teachers, youth leaders and parents added to understanding the roots, effects and solutions to boys' body confidence.

This report focuses on the way male models are portrayed in advertising and the media – particularly, whether boys are aware of digitally enhanced imagery and whether this impacts their behavior. 

The subsequent report, Picture of Health?, revealed that 53% of boys felt advertising was a major source of pressure to look good; only social media (57%) and friends (68%) exerted more influence, while celebrities (49%) were slightly less persuasive.

"This new research shows boys are increasingly worried about their appearance," said Karen Fraser, Credos director.

"We have to recognise that advertising and the wider media play some part in shaping how young people feel about themselves – both positively and negatively."


Key Insights

  • And while most (80%) were aware of image-manipulation in the media, most appeared to associate this with the female form, as the study reported that they were surprised at the extent to which male images are altered

  • Two thirds (67%) said it was not acceptable for brands to use digital techniques to change the body image of a model in their advertising

  • But some secondary school-age boys (aged 11 to 18) suggested the way media portray men in their images could be healthy (33%) or even aspirational (22%)
  • More generally, the study found that boys hold advertising in high regard, with 73% of secondary school boys agreeing that ads are important in letting them know about products

  •  69% of 16-18 year olds said they had tried new products after seeing an advertisement

  • Around one in four (42%) boys who thought the male images they saw were realistic also believed there is a "perfect body" to strive for, compared with just 16% of those who think male images are unrealistic

Picture of Health: Boys, Advertising and Body Image by Derek E. Baird via Advertising Association


Trend Watch: 60 Million Teens Going Crazy for Musical.ly App

Musically.app.teensMove over Vine and Instagram! Musica.ly is the newest hot app among teens and tweens. How big? Nearly 60 million t/weens are using musica.ly to make their own music videos.

And like Vine and Instagram, teens are using musica.ly to become Internet stars and amass huge followings. 

Watch as "Muser" star Baby Ariel joined GMA to explain to the appeal of the app and teach the hosts how to make a musical.ly video.

 


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!


Piper Jaffray: Instagram is the Top Social Network for Teens

Instagram-logo1RSAccording to the latest Piper Jaffray "Taking Stock with Teens" report, American youth are continuing to gravitate to Instagram and away from Facebook. 

Roughly three-quarters of respondents reported using the visual platform, up from 69% in the previous survey. By comparison, just 45% said they use Facebook, a significant drop from 72%.

Jaffray Piper also reports that friends and the Internet dominate teen influences and combine in social media environments. Instagram and Twitter are the two most used social media sites, implying teens are increasingly visual and sound bite communicators.

The Taking Stock With Teens survey is a semi-annual research project comprised of gathering input from approximately 7,200 teens with an average age of 16.0 years.

Teen spending patterns, fashion trends, and brand and media preferences were assessed through visits to a geographically diverse subset of high schools across 11 states and 14 schools, as well as an online survey that included 41 states. 

Piper Jaffray has also prepared an infographic that shows some of the key highlights from the Fall 2014 survey.

Taking Stock with Teens Fall 2014


Trend Watch: Tenth Grade Tech Trends

image from www.debaird.netI ran across this really interesting essay over on Medium by Josh Miller, who interviewed his sister on the latest tech and social media trends at her high school.

Josh's findings dovetail with what I've heard in my own interviews with tweens and teens on the hows and why's of their social media habits.   

Take a peek into the mind of a teenager on social media to learn what's in (spoiler, not Facebook) and what's hot (rhymes with snap and cat).

Tenth Grade Tech Trends


Meet the Millennial Makers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Mill.makers

In a recent MTV study entitled “Generation Innovation,” we set off to look at the resiliency of a Millennial generation that is pushing back against a system in need of repair… whether the economy, the environment, the education system and more.

What we found was counter to the often-charged caricature of today’s youth as “entitled” and “coddled.” Instead, we found a vibrant and strong fixer/maker/builder culture where nearly 3 in 4 of Millennials believe “our generation is starting a movement to change old, outdated systems.”

Put more broadly, if the American Dream isn’t working as promised, Millennials will take it upon themselves to iterate the next “version” of America.The heady mix of forces driving this generation is only partly due to their sense of needing to fix something broken.

The other even more potent side of the coin is the primacy they place on their own power of creativity. When asked “what word best defines the DNA of your generation?” the number one response was “Creative” and number two “Self-expressive.” A full 70% of Millennials in the study agreed “Creativity will save us!”

One of the first places we checked in on our journey was Detroit. We were fascinated by the “canary in the coal mine” dynamics at work with a younger generation busy appropriating, fixing and remixing the American Dream – whether transforming abandoned factories into hack spaces, disused cycle tracks into playgrounds, distressed storefronts into galleries for emerging artists or untangling arcane local government departments.

Millennials have the motivation and DNA to run wild with innovation, but they also have access to the tools, technologies and platforms to make a real difference. In fact, 92% of Millennials feel “empowered” by technology (versus just 11% feeling overwhelmed by it).

What the generation is busy fixing and making is interesting to watch, for sure. But perhaps most fascinating is HOW Millennials are going about innovation and what we can all learn from it about what form the next version of the American Dream may take.

Read the entire report over on the MTV Insight Research blog:


White House: "15 Economic Facts about Millennials" [REPORT]

Millennial-tkoToday the White House released a report entitled “15 Economic Facts about Millennials” (pdf). This report takes an early look at this generation’s adult lives so far, including how they are faring in the labor market and how they are organizing their personal lives.

This generation is marked by transformations at nearly every important milestone: from changes in parenting practices and schooling choices, to the condition of the U.S. economy they entered, to their own choices about home and family. 

Millennials “15 Economic Facts about Millennials”Report

Related: All--Yes, all!--the charts from the White House Report on Millennials!


Why Snapchat Is The Future of Social Media [VIDEO]

Snapchat-logoIn his new video, fimmaker Casey Neistat makes the case for Snapchat being the future of social media, but in a fundamentally different way.

It's not like Facebook or MySpace, his argument goes, though it may be their natural evolutionary successor.

Snapchat is different, Neistat (and the gaggle of Snapchat teens he interviews) says, because it actually mirrors the way we interact in the real world.

"Snapchat is great because it's virile and vital. Because it's right now. Because there's no pressure to be produced or fake, because everything disappears in a few seconds anyway."  -David Pierce, The Verge

Snapchat is a way to let people live your life with you, a surprisingly close approximation of just running into someone for a few seconds at the store or on the subway platform. Neistat points particularly to Snapchat Stories, the public-facing part of Snapchat, as the feature that made Snapchat really move into the mainstream.

 

 

To illustrate the power of Snapchat, Neistat invites Jerome Jarre, the King of Snapchat with 1.2 million follwers, to send a Snap his fans asking them to meet him in Union Square----16 minutes later Jarre racked up 142,000 views on his Snap and several hundred screaming fans actually showed up in person.

Read more on The Verge


Snapchat Social Safety Guide for Parents and Educators [PRIVACY]

Snapchat-flashy-featuresFew things strike fear in parents and educators as much as Snapchat. It wasn't too long ago that social technologies like MySpace, Facebook, SMS and camerphones had the power to elicit such a negative response.

But slowly, as parents and educators began to learn more about these new tools and social technologies, they not only embraced them, but many educators began integrating them into their teaching practice.

The Snapchat team has put together a wonderful guide to help parents and educators learn more about the app and help demystify some of the rumors. It's a good starting point to learn more about the app, which is becoming more and more mainstream every day.

The guide also talks about the SnapKidz--the totally private and secure version of Snapchat designed for kids under the age of 13. Snapkidz is a fun way for tweens to privately share photos of camp, that trip to Disneyland or family vaycay with their friends, cousins and even grandma! 

For educators, this guide is a great opportunity to have a discussion with your colleagues in a professional development setting to learn more about Snapchat and how students in your school are using this tool. Who knows, you might even find yourself using the "Our Story" feature to document that field trip!

Happy Snapchatting!


Snapchat Social Safety Guide for Parents & Educators