Brand USA Tennessee Partner Tracks Kids' Fun Through Their Laughter
“Penguins look like rich people.” “The turtle looked like a monster to the other fish.” “My favorite part was the peacocks. They were showing their feathers off!” Those are the words of children describing a fun time in Tennessee.
Children know how to have fun, how to laugh and what makes them laugh. Because of that, the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development (TDTD) – a Brand USA gold partner – wanted to know whether joy could be measured and if it is possible to identify the places and activities that generate the greatest joy among school-aged children.
Their newly launched “Kid Reviewed” campaign provided the answers. A special wearable technology called a Laugh Tracker was worn by more than 200 children for over 450 hours at over 30 attractions across Tennessee in May. The devices recorded more than 36,000 laughs, an average of 1.3 laughs per minute. (To insure the privacy of each child, no identifiable information was collected other than the child's first name, age and attraction location.)
Even Dolly Parton, a well-loved ambassador for Tennessee, took part in the fun when she invited children wearing Laugh Trackers to experience Dollywood’s newest attraction, Wildwood Grove.
“When I hear a child laugh, that is the most joyful sound in the world to me, because it makes everything else kinda fly out the window,” Parton said. “You think you got troubles, you think you got heartaches, and you forget to laugh yourself when you get a little older. Sometimes you let all your troubles and your worries get on you. But to hear a little kid laughing - just to hear that freedom, and that glee and that joy - it's like good medicine to me.”
“Tennessee is an incredible family destination,” TDTD Commissioner Mark Ezell said. “Rather than hear it from us, we wanted to hear straight from the kids. For the millions of families taking a trip this summer, we invite you to come and experience firsthand our state's soundtrack of laughter with scenic beauty, rich history, music and adventure.”
The campaign, developed by advertising agency VMLY&R, stemmed from research that moms planning family vacations often look at online reviews. None of the popular online sites, however, include reviews from the kids themselves.
Now, Kid Reviewed will make vacation planning easier than ever. The measurable data and candid reviews from the kids themselves are now available at http://www.kidreviewedtn.com as well as on Pinterest and the destination pages at http://www.tnvacation.com. They all carry a special “Kid Reviewed” logo to let moms know they can choose a particular attraction with confidence. The campaign’s video can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFlf2u7PezI
The thoughts of children clearly are important to the Tennessee tourism industry, which generated $20.7 billion in economic impact, more than $1.8 billion in state and local tax revenue and more than 184,300 tourism-related jobs.
TDTD also created a traveling “Kid Reviewed” booth, where children recorded their honest reviews of popular attractions across the state, including the Children's Museum of Memphis, Discovery Park of America in Union City, Nashville Zoo, Fall Creek Falls in Spencer, Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Hands On! Discovery Center in Gray and Dollywood in Pigeon Forge.