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Productive digital parenting

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our customisable research platform featuring the world’s most innovative, creative and effective ad campaigns and marketing ideas

Brazil’s largest telco makes kids answer academic questions before playing on their parents’ smartphones

With kids developing a growing infatuation for their parents’ smartphones and tablets, Telefónica-owned telco Vivo wanted to help Brazilian families turn this mobile habit into a productive and educational one.

Partnering with Y&R, São Paulo, the brand created Vivo Unlock Lessons, an app that requires kids to answer educational questions before they can unlock a mobile device. Parents register their child’s name and school year to set a regimen of topics pertaining to the child’s grade level. The app then serves up hundreds of questions on different subjects.

Kids must answer a question correctly before unlocking the device, and parents can track their child’s progress by viewing a performance report based on right and wrong answers.

The brand claims that it does not expect direct financial return, since the app is part of their corporate social responsibility programme. However it does expect the app to improve the company’s image and bring in new customers.

Vivo Unlock Lessons won a Silver Lion in the Mobile category at the 2014 Cannes Lions festival.


Contagious Insight

Guilt-relieving tech / By the age of eight, 60% of children will have played games or used apps on a mobile device. To tap into this behaviour – and make their own lives a little easier – parents are using their smartphones and tablets as a type of digital nanny to occupy and entertain their kids in a safe and controlled way.

Brands are catering to this need, with the likes of Sesame Street’s Elmo Calls app helping young children and parents deal with daily situations, like potty training and teeth brushing. Other brands, such as Amazon and Net Nanny, have already created software to help parents control the content and timing of their children’s media usage.

The Vivo Unlock app uses a new approach to relieve any potential guilt that may be associated with handing over their mobile devices. Rather than restricting content or duration, Vivo is allowing kids to enjoy their choice of entertainment, with a small task thrown in at the start. After all, 30% of parents’ mobile apps are downloaded by their children, so kids are already going to use their favorite games and apps once they get hold of the device.

Vivo Unlock, then, offers up the best of both worlds: it still enables children to play the games they love, but it also gives parents the peace of mind that there’s a direct benefit in handing over the tablet or smartphone. In other words, it serves as a reward system to both parent and child, rather than a restrictive annoyance. The fact that parents can track the progress is also neat, and perhaps gives the app some longevity. And, of course, it encourages consumption of content on devices relying on the Vivo network.


This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O contact