Updated: Nov 16
Jo Redfern of Wind Sun Sky Entertainment shares her experience launching Future Chicken on Roblox.
Roblox is Vitally Important in Today's Children's Media Landscape
In the world of children's entertainment, Roblox is not new. The popular gaming platform that now boasts over 70 million daily active users has been a well known commodity for years, especially since it underwent a massive growth spurt during the pandemic.
For children's IP owners, Roblox is not just a nice to have platform, but it has become mandatory. That's because the platform is so popular with young audiences.
In fact Mattel, Hasbro, Spin Master, Jazwares, Zag Studios, Paramount and Sesame Workshop are all the children's focused companies that are active on Roblox.
Instead of looking at Roblox as a competitor to their new kids' properties, more and more forward-thinking producers are embracing the platform as a new launching pad to reach their target consumers.
To better understand where Roblox fits into the the children's entertainment landscape, I reached out to Jo Redfern, who recently oversaw the launch of a new Roblox experience focused on a new children's IP called Future Chicken.
I got to know Jo via LinkedIn, where she posts regularly about kids content and has a strong interest in Roblox, which certainly caught my attention. In fact, when she posted about Roblox thumbnails best practices, I knew I had founded a kindred spirit.
I had the pleasure helping Jo and the Wind Sun Sky team with research and strategy early in their Roblox discovery process, and I'm so excited that their Escape Bathroom Obby is now live.
Q&A with Jo Redfern of Wind Sun Sky Entertainment
Stephen: Where do you work, and what do you do there?
Jo: Managing Director Kids, Wind Sun Sky Entertainment
Stephen: What's Future Chicken?
Jo: Future Chicken is a brand new eco-initiative (a WSS collaboration with non-profit partner the Ontario Water Centre) designed to bring positivity to kids regarding the future of the planet, and the environment.
There is so much climate-doomism in the media that kids encounter that Future Chicken uses humour and information to empower children through video, gaming, audio, learning resources and more.
Stephen: Why is Roblox important for this IP?
Jo: Launching a new kids IP is hard, particularly when there’s a mission behind it.
By leaning into kids’ favourite content on their favourite platforms, we want to build a community around our fun characters, but that offers kids positive messages, actions and knowledge in a way that isn’t preachy nor that gets in the way of enjoyment.
Stephen: How does Roblox fit into your company's business objectives?
Jo: As a digital first kids media creator, Roblox has become as important a platform to reach kids with new IP as YouTube.
In my mind the two have reached parity in terms of their value in brand-building.
Stephen: How did you approach bringing this IP to Roblox?
Jo: Given that kids don’t yet know our characters, it was key that we get them to meet in a way that didn’t require complex set up or explanation of narrative.
For the first of our Roblox activations, we felt it was important to lean into an established game genre and weave in our characters and mission in a light touch way.
Kids have the best radar for knowing when they’re being marketed to, and we didn’t want to put them off with a pushy first activation.
Stephen: What goals do you have for Future Chicken on Roblox?
Jo: We aim to build a network of experiences that support the wider Future Chicken brand and mission.
Some will be character-driven, some may be more educational (we’re working with a learning advisory group to explore building an experience for educators). We’d also like to explore how we build in video content to future experiences.
Stephen: What do you want players to take away from this Roblox experience?
Jo: Ideally we’d like them to have had fun, and recall at least one of the sustainable actions they needed to complete in the experience.
Even better if it comes to mind the next time they leave a room and turn the light off, or turn off a dripping tap to save water! I guess that’s the aim, to prompt real world behaviour change if possible.
Stephen: What have you learned about Roblox through this process?
Jo: That, in my view, its potential for learning is hugely under leveraged. With sensible design the experiences could teach kids everything from critical thinking to budgeting, from spelling to science, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be backed by an educational institution to be good and effective.
If anything, thinking deeper and more conceptually about why young people love Roblox so much is likely to spawn huge innovation in the online learning space.
Stephen: What advice do you have for other IP brands considering Roblox?
Jo: Do your own research.
Take the time to cast around for someone that knows the platform, that knows the developer base, that has a passion for it, and then layer on what you can bring in terms of knowledge about your audience, your brand, and the outcome you’re trying to achieve.
Then create a sensible plan for how all of those can be combined and articulated on the platform. There are reasons that certain experiences work, take time to understand why and it will help you avoid mistakes.
Stephen Dypiangco is the CEO of Metaverse Marcom, a strategy and consulting firm helping entertainment and sports brands enter Roblox.
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