Nick bats for outdoor games with 'Let's Just Play'

By Chhavi Tyagi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | September 11, 2008
Nick, the popular kids' entertainment channel, has launched an initiative to encourage kids to go out and play

Ever & #BANNER1 & # heard of a television channel making an endeavour to actually tell its target audience not to indulge in too much of TV viewing? Nickleodeon, the kids' entertainment channel, has set out to do the unthinkable.

Nick, in association with Boost, has announced 'Let's Just Play', a 'pro-kids movement' to promote active lifestyle and outdoor play among kids. The campaign will kick off with an interesting initiative - the channel will go blank for half an hour on September 27, to encourage kids to go out and play instead of just sitting in front of their TV sets and becoming couch potatoes.

Speaking about the initiative to afaqs!, Nina Elavia Jaipuria, general manager and senior vice-president, Nick India, says, "We are very serious about reinforcing the value of outdoor playing in today's generation. We at Nick believe that playing is as important for kids as studies and neither can be a substitute for the other to help develop kids into healthier and better individuals."

Nina Elavia Jaipuria
Nick has also planned an event on the same day. For the event, it will invite children to come out and play for a whole day at a venue to be announced by the channel. Jaipuria says, "This will be a free-for-all event, where not only children but their parents will also be welcome. We are working towards making this experience a truly thrilling one." The venue, to be announced 10 days in advance, will have the amenities for a number of games such as basketball and football.

Nick's popular characters such as Ninja and Perman are leading the promos by telling fans how outdoor games can help them lead a healthy and playful life. Apart from its own channel and its network channels including IBN7 and CNN-IBN, the promos of the campaign are also being run on MTV and Colors.

Narain at Nick's 'Let's Just Play' initiativeThe initiative has drawn support from varied people - school principals, teachers, politicians such as Priya Dutt, actors and child psychologists. Celebrity parents such as Pooja Bedi, Cyrus Broacha and Formula 1 racer Narain Karthikeyan are not far behind in taking the initiative forward. Jaipuria also divulged that the channel is seeking the support of the Olympics medalists.

However, one wonders if this will be just a passing fancy for the channel as well as the kids. Jaipuria remarks, "This is not going to be a one-off event, but it is a movement that we are seeking to initiate. To ensure this, we have plans to turn it into an annual campaign. We have decided to celebrate the day every year as the Let's Just Play Day."

The blacking out of the channel is to give the campaign a kick start; the real campaign will begin afterwards. Nick plans to do a number of on-ground activities including debates and seminars which will be aired on news channels. The PR agency, LINOpinion, is working on promoting the campaign, while Choices will be handling all the on-ground activities. Beanstalk is in charge of ad campaigns.

Nick does not rule out the possibility of the entire campaign falling flat on its face. It admits that this may have the undesirable effect of driving its viewers to the competition. Jaipuria admits, "Though it takes courage to blank out a channel, we sincerely hope that this can bring a positive change in the outlook of parents and the kids."

All the on-ground activities and play events will be held in three metros of the country - Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Nick also plans to engage kids all over India. Kids can log onto the website of the channel and get a Let's Just Play player number for themselves, which they can wear on their shirts.