As the amount of time children spend watching TV continues to be something most parents are concerned about, the idea of them being at home, quarantined away from friends, parks and places to run and play seems daunting. Sure, there will be some streaming, but enough is enough, these kids need their minds stimulated.
Now, some very popular authors are providing new content for fans and their kids in the time of COVID-19. One of the first to step up is JK Rowling, international superstar author of the mega-bestselling Harry Potter series. Rowling is spearheading “Harry Potter at Home,” a website intended to get kids thinking and creating. According to a press release, Rowling’s site will offer games and quizzes and “other activities” connected with the Potterverse. In addition, audio publisher Audible will offer free audio and digital editions of at least one Potter book.
On the heels of that announcement, author Dav Pilkey, creator of the hugely popular kids’ books series, Dogman and Captain Underpants, is going online to teach kids how to draw, not only his creations but characters of their own. Creative kids will learn how to make their own superhero gear, hear read alouds, and watch drawing demonstrations. To pull this off in time, Pilkey is partnering with the Library of Congress to bring the fun to life.
In stepping outside their normal product funnel and finding new ways to connect with fans and encourage parents, these authors are rebranding themselves not just as famous authors but as educators who really care about the kids whose parents buy their books.
And, from a consumer PR perspective, parents are happy to see something online that allows their kids to connect with a favorite brand or character in an interactive way that gets them thinking, planning, designing, and creating.
This kind of creative brand connection is something virtually any brand could do at this time as part of a layered consumer PR campaign. Millions upon millions of people are stuck at home and will be for the foreseeable future. They’re nervous, frustrated, and looking for something engaging to make them smile and take their minds off what’s happening outside their door.
While this situation is truly challenging for everyone, it’s an opportunity to humanize a brand, to create a story, communicate a vision and connect with fans and customers in a variety of new and interesting ways that help turn momentary connection points into long-term relationships.