In Inside Out, Pixar’s first all-new film since 2012’s Brave, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and others voice the emotions that govern a young person’s life. If you spend any time around kids, you know that few things trigger those emotions more reliably than being told to do their chores. In that way, a partnership between Pixar and the Cincinnati-based startup ChoreMonster, which rewards kids for doing chores and offers them both in-app entertainment and parent-directed rewards for doing chores, makes a whole lot of sense.
ChoreMonster offers kids “Monster Tickets” for successfully completing a chore, a virtual currency inside the app that they can use to unlock rewards determined by their parent or guardian. And with the partnership with Pixar, those rewards get an upgrade.
ChoreMonster’s partnership with Pixar came about through the company’s participation in the Disney Accelerator program last year. As part of the process, ChoreMonster CEO Chris Bergman was mentored by Disney Animation producer Kristina Reed. Reed, whose credits include Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero Six–plus an Oscar for the short film “Feast”–introduced Bergman’s team to ways to generate rewards within the app, and move beyond “an extra hour of screen time” or “we’ll order a pizza.”
“One of the things we launched out of the Disney accelerator is the Monster Movie Theater, which allows kids to unlock animated content inside ChoreMonster by completing chores,” says Bergman. “A lot of this is our own animated content–we create what we call Monster Shorts, and we have a new one come out every couple weeks, and kids can unlock it by using Monster Tickets. And Kristina has been incredibly helpful for us, just in understanding narrative and understanding animation.”
With the Pixar partnership on Inside Out, meanwhile, clips from the film, out June 19, are also available to participating kids.
The partnership includes some other opportunities for parents, and for kids. Inside Out-themed chores include “do a disgusting chore,” in tribute to Mindy Kaling’s character Disgust, or “calm down when you’re angry,” a reference to Lewis Black’s character Anger. Parents can add these chores to their child’s list, and–naturally–they’re encouraged to add “Family Movie Night To See Inside Out” as an unlockable reward. (Some of the families who add the movie will get the chance to win tickets, as well.)
For Bergman, partnering with an organization like Pixar is a natural way to create a situation in which ChoreMonster wins, Disney/Pixar wins, parents win, and kids win–a rare four-quadrant success payoff he finds very exciting.
“We’re able to take these big brands and give them an opportunity to create something where both the parent and kid win,” Bergman says. “‘Hey, here’s something your child can earn–it’s not something you’re giving them–your child can earn this, and you can connect with your child by going to see the movie together.’” And Bergman, who started ChoreMonster around the time he first became a father, is committed to the idea of the service furthering the healthy relationship between parents and kids. “Our goal is to drive parent/child interaction. We, as a company, are trying to make every home a joyful place. And having big brands and partnerships come alongside that to make that even more possible is our ultimate win for everyone.”