Nick launches innovative 'Let's Just Play' campaign in US

mam/headlines/y2k3/june/junemam73.htmMUMBAI: It is not just a matter of attracting eyeballs! Not content to merely rest on its laurels, Nickelodeon US is demonstrating that there are healthy and creative ways for a television brand to connect with the target audience.

Nickelodeon's Let's Just Play campaign which kicked off last week in the US encourages kids to get out in the open and enjoy outdoor playful activities. Where kids play to learn and parents learn to play is the theme behind it. The multi-media campaign and grassroots effort has the goal of getting kids to move out of their physically inert environment by encouraging them to engage in more positive, healthy and playful lifestyles.

The broadcaster is executing the initiative in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. This will involve Public Service Announcements, celebrity endorsements, community events, partnerships and grassroots efforts to reinforce the pure value of play. This seems like a contradiction as broadcasters are generally concerned about viewership figures. However, Nickelodeon is looking at the larger picture and seeks to build brand involvement in ways that go beyond the idiot box.

In addition to being a multi-media effort including Nickelodeon on-air, online, and magazines, Let's Just Play will have a local community component courtesy Let's Just Play Across America events. The campaign will culminate in a prime time event later this year on Nickelodeon.

Each Let's Just Play Across America event will invite hundreds of kids and families to literally play across the designated city, combining everything from traditional relay runs and wheel barrow races to Nickelodeon themed slime bucket brigades.

In addition to the Let's Just Play Across America local market events, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America will host ongoing Let's Just Play activities at its clubs across the US. Nickelodeon will direct kids and parents to seek out Boys & Girls Clubs of America as a destination for kids to play.

Nickelodeon executive VP public affairs Marva Smalls said, "Our hope is that Let's Just Play will build on the success of The Big Help, our first pro-social, grassroots campaign which, in nine years, led to 40 million kids pledging 383 million volunteer hours to clean up community parks, help restore waterways, plant new trees and more."

Boys & Girls Clubs of America president Roxanne Spillett said, "Let's Just Play is tremendously exciting for our 3,300 Boys & Girls Clubs worldwide because it focuses on increasing the level of physical activity among all children, including the 3.6 million young people we serve. In addition, the unmatched ability of Nickelodeon to reach kids with this important message, and send them to their local Clubs, will have real impact for thousands of families and communities."

Multi-Media campaign: The PSA's will kick off the on-air campaign with spots called It's Summer, Get Out and Play as well as movie-like trailers that remind kids summer is the best time for active play. A second series 15 second PSA's Have You Played Today? will reinforce the message that active play is an important way for kids to spend their leisure time particularly during the months when it's great to be outside. A third series of PSA's featuring Let's Just Play Advisory Committee Celebrities will soon follow.

Nick Online (, and and Nickelodeon Magazine will provide additional resources for kids, including recommended games, teaming tips, and online links to local Boys & Girls Clubs of America. will post fun, recommended activities for kids, including Jump rope, somersaults, Frisbee tosses, and specially designed Nickelodeon games, such as the Hula Hoop Pass where kids line up end to end holding hands and pass along a hula hoop through their arms, down the legs and through the opposite arm. will roll out new activities to kids each week throughout the summer.

Nickelodeon will also invite kids to share their ideas for playful activities on Through games and message boards, kids will be able to tell each other what they're doing and how they are increasing their active play, and will be able to keep track of the time spent doing active play through an interactive journal/calendar. Parents also will be encouraged to participate through suggested activities with their kids and resource information.

A study done last year by California's education department shows that while kids have an average of seven hours per day of leisure time less than 25 per cent get 30 half an hour of daily physical activity. Studies show that kids who are physically active are healthier, do better in school and have higher self-esteem. Physical inactivity leads to bulges in all the wrong places. Around 15 per cent of US children ages 6 to 19, or about nine million children, are overweight.

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