The Delta Dental Plans Association puts oral health education near the top of its “to do” list – and a significant portion of this effort is aimed at children. One typical strategy is to empower parents to teach good oral health habits to their kids. However, Meyocks figured there had to be a better way to make education more engaging for the kids themselves. A brochure wasn’t going to cut it.
Now you’ll probably never hear a kid ask his or her parents, “Do you want to teach me about positive oral health habits and preventive care?” You’re more likely, however, to hear a kid ask, “Do you want to play a game?”
From this insight, The Smile SquadTM was born.
A card game format offered many advantages. From a logistics perspective, playing cards are relatively inexpensive to produce and easy to deliver – whether given out to attendees at sponsored sporting events, dropped in swag-bags at tradeshows or distributed from dentist to patient.
From a content perspective, the format allowed us to break down the many different educational topics we wanted to touch on into distinct bite-size (pun intended) pieces. Plus, the gameplay mechanics could directly reinforce the message by encouraging children to use positive actions to “defeat” negative habits and health conditions.
Knowing children were the primary audience, we decided to draw our inspiration from the superhero genre. And as our team of copywriters and designers dug in and started creating content, we felt like kids in a candy store. (A sugar-free candy store, of course.)
We decided that four main heroes would makeup the Smile Squad team. Each would represent a positive personal habit – brushing, flossing, using fluoride toothpaste and eating right. The heroes would do battle with the Mouth Marauders – a collection of fourteen villains each associated with an unhealthy habit or a symptom of poor oral health. Individual action cards were used to convey more granular information, such as how often to brush, or how much toothpaste to use.
We knew from the beginning, however, that the playable card game was only the first deliverable. A strong concept must live beyond its initial medium – and it was critical that we approach this not as a distinct project, but as a platform for content.
In part two of this article, we’ll examine some of the other ways The Meyocks Group team brought the Smile Squad concept to life.Comments