The United States isn’t the only country facing an epidemic of childhood obesity. In fact, it is a global issue that even our neighbors to the north are dealing with. As it turns out, one in four Canadian children is considered overweight or obese. Alarmed by that statistic, Concerned Children’s Advertisers, a Canadian organization that has been creating social marketing programs to benefit youth for more than two decades, asked its agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky to create a PSA that would inspire elementary school kids to get some exercise.
But after interviewing members of the target audience, Crispin realized that a PSA wasn’t going to be enough of a motivator. It appeared that children already knew how important it was to be active. They had heard that message many times before, and yet another PSA wasn’t going to get them off the couch. But the right experience, something fun and engaging might do the trick, so Crispin created GOGOYU, an interactive online game powered by the real-world activities of the kids who play it.
Currently in beta, GOGOYU is set in 2032. It is a time of crisis, according to the game, because people are running out of energy. Children play GOGOYU by wearing a FitBit pedometer that is used to track the amount of steps they take every day. The more active they are, the further their characters go in the online game, which has the avatars doing all sorts of fun things like engaging in snowball fights and placing ingredients into a device that will spit out a virtual “Made in Canada” omelet.
An online timer limits game play to 20 minutes a day. While the goal of GOGOYU is to get kids moving, the goal isn’t to have players run themselves ragged.