Child Safety Website
Fun with a Side of Safety
The German Insurance Association (GDV) asked us to develop an online platform that would teach children between the ages of 3 and 7 about everyday safety. Considering the target group, the content would have to be presented without text. In addition we would be competing against some powerful television-backed brands. Without a big media budget, our platform would have to establish itself largely through word-of-mouth.
Parents want their kids to learn about safety. Kids want to have fun. For the platform to be successful, these two worlds would have to converge, without being too didactically heavy. Kids aren’t dumb. They know when you’re trying to pull one over on them. Characters, games and activities would have to be authentically fun and we would need to create a deeper level of storytelling in order for kids to become excited enough to tell their friends and come back for more.
To create an opportunity for storytelling, we developed three characters, Grecco, Gina and Rocco Ampelini (“ampel” means “traffic light” in German). Like a traffic light they are green, yellow and red, respectively, and have dispositions that match the significance of their colors. (For more about the Ampelini characters, please see our related article under “brand development.”)
We then created a town with various places, each focusing on either a specific safety issue or a type of activity. For example, the swimming pool addresses water safety; the fan shop has downloadable activities. As the kids explore the website, they discover new games, videos, animations and other fun things, all the while learning about safety associated with traffic, fire, water, home, outdoors and seasonal topics.
But it’s not all about safety; kids also get to know the Ampelinis and their friends through the characters’ playful interactions. The characters themselves sometimes make mistakes, so that children can learn by example rather than being told directly what to do. Finally the three characters represent a range of personalities, making it easier for kids to find one to identify with. This aspect and the story are what ultimately keep kids coming back for more.
Online since 2007, the website continues to enchant new crops of young children every year. It has accumulated a slew of awards and accolades, as well as the recommendations of parents, educators and safety experts. The Ampelini website has become the go-to online center for kids to learn about safety in Germany.