When our country went into COVID-19 lock-down, there was an immediate need to help school students to continue with their education from their own homes. Online learning was the primary channel, however there were still some 100,000 school children who didn’t have sufficient online access to make this possible.
The answer? A free-to-air TV channel full of lessons from celebrated and entertaining educators that would run for the duration of each school day until the students were able to return to school. And it needed to be on air in just over 2 weeks. Our clients, The Education Review Office and Ministry of Education, worked with TVNZ to pull off what seemed to be an impossible task – create an entire TV channel, full of content, in next-to-no-time.
Our role was to create a brand for the channel, develop all of the in-channel brand assets from the big (branding videos, channel breaks), to the little (title bars, simple logo animations) and a multi-channel, online and offline advertising campaign.
With everyone working in a lockdown environment, it was unchartered waters for the whole team.
What followed was an entirely new way of working with our clients and team, and a natural evolution of our existing agile and flexible approach to working together.
Zoom meetings included all key decision-makers, so we were able to present, discuss and arrive at important decisions in the time that it would have taken to just travel to a meeting in the old world.
From a creative perspective, it was important for us to not stigmatise the issue of not being able to access online learning from home. We didn’t want to make this about the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. Instead, we turned our focus to a wide range of reasons why you may not be able to access online learning – beyond remote location and socio-economic reasons. With so many members of households needing online access for work and school, we knew that there could be a lot of different reasons you weren’t able to have the online access you needed for school each day. Lack of data, not enough devices to go around, devices being broken, dog eats device, monster eats device….
It allowed us to shift our focus to a more entertaining creative platform and provide a solution to the challenge that most kids could relate to.
“Can’t do school online? Watch TV instead!”
The campaign and the TV channel ran for the duration of New Zealand’s initial COVID-19 lockdown and for a month following. It was designed to be very modular and responsive to any change in the COVID-19 alert levels and our audiences’ ability to attend school, with any adjustments or change in messaging able to be implemented at a moment’s notice.
The channel is also available through TVNZ OnDemand, providing a valuable resource, not only for at-home children, but also as an additional resource for in-class teaching.