Aotearoa’s young citizens have a frosty new friend to help them navigate the digital world, in the interactive storybook ‘The Inter-Yeti – Lost on a Wild Webventure’. Gunther the Yeti and his pal Byte’s journey through the Internet is the third installment from Motion Sickness in the Department of Internal Affairs’ Keep it Real Online campaign, and follows up the successful The Eggplant TV-series released late last year.
The new learning resource for children aged 5-11, was announced this month by Internal Affairs Minister, Jan Tinetti: “The Inter-Yeti is an interactive ebook to help kids understand what to do when they come across bullying trolls, scary content, and ‘friends’ who may not be who they say they are.
“The Inter-Yeti appeals to young children themselves, and will help to prevent online harms from leading to feelings of vulnerability, isolation, depression and anxiety and, in some cases, to physical harm offline.”
Gunther’s ‘Webventure’ begins when his new laptop unexpectedly sucks him into the screen, and transports him to a digital universe. With the help of his charming digital tour guide, Byte, Gunther traverses cyberspace on a quest to fix ‘The WiFi’ (it’s never as easy as turning it off and on).
Structured around four key pillars – inappropriate content, bullying, information security and grooming – our intrepid explorers hike through forests of cables, sail across data-filled oceans, and climb towering mountains, as they overcome obstacles on their way through the magical tech-scape.
Says Jordan Stent, creative director, Motion Sickness: “Navigating the online world ain’t always a walk in the park even for the best of us, so tackling a topic like this, with its fair share of nuanced issues and sensitivities, meant we had our work cut out to ensure there were productive learnings framed in a positive, age-appropriate environment. It is so crucial that we continue to foster that healthy and open dialogue around internet use, and like we’ve seen in the wider ‘Keep It Real Online’ campaign, stay engaged and build trusted relationships with our rangitahi.”
(Gunther finds himself lost in ‘The Tangle’)
Informed by an extensive research phase completed in collaboration with Motion Sickness and The Purpose Business, and led by resources from the Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs, ‘The Inter-Yeti’ equips 5-11 year olds with the tools they need to identify, evaluate, and combat any potential issues or harms they may be faced with online.
The story was brought to life by the passionate team from digital creative agency, PHQ, with the developed interactive ‘pick-a-path’ challenges and hidden gamified elements all attributing to a rich learning experience.
Beautifully narrated by artist Stan Walker, and layered with custom music and sound-design from UK-based studio Mutant Jukebox, the unique sound experience adds a hypnotic and soothing element to the final piece.
Says Hilary Ngan Kee, head of strategy, Motion Sickness: “It’s been a joy to work with Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs’ digital safety team over a twelve month period, and to really get to know the issues our young people are facing online. This particular audience (5-11) are a discerning bunch, and we knew we’d be getting their honest opinions. That’s made it all the more rewarding, hearing that the kids engaging with the interactive book both love Gunther, and have learned some valuable lessons along the way.”
(‘Missing Yeti’ street posters were pasted on walls throughout the country as part of the integrated launch campaign)
Led by a multi-channel launch campaign across digital, strong out-of-home support from Shout Media, and clocking over 375,000 minutes read so far, Gunther & Byte have already been supporting many important conversations in classrooms, libraries, and homes across the country.
Client: Department of Internal Affairs
Agency: Motion Sickness
Digital Production: PHQ
Research: The Purpose Business
Executive Creative Director: Sam Stuchbury
Creative Director: Jordan Stent
Head of Strategy: Hilary Ngan Kee
Copywriting: Will Macdonald
Creative: Anna Hughes
Editor: Jolin Lee
Illustration: Anton Petrov, David Way
Animation (Resource): David Way, Meng Hong, Shannon Jahnel Lanktree
Animation (Launch Campaign): Toybox
Graphic Design: Nick Jamieson
Head of Media: Josh Hawke
Music & Sound Design: Mutant Jukebox
Narrator: Stan Walker
Contributing Author: James Russell