Innovate By Day worked with Shaftesbury Kids to pivot and bring new Solutioneers content sooner to families affected by the sudden COVID-19 lockdown.

The Challenge

The Solutioneers is a 10-part scripted series on YouTube about a group of 12-year-old best friends, coders, and budding inventors who plan to change the world using Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). 

Shaftesbury Films’ children’s entertainment division, Shaftesbury Kids, asked Innovate By Day to help them create a strategy for The Solutioneers that would help build a brand following -- not only for The Solutioneers but for the Shaftesbury Kids channel as a whole. Everything was in the pipeline and ready for an April launch. Then in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada and the world, and life as we knew it changed drastically.

With the onset of the pandemic and the resulting school closures, Innovate and Shaftesbury Kids pivoted to release The Solutioneers content three weeks earlier than originally scheduled, in order to get the shows and activities to parents who were suddenly scrambling for educational content for their children. The STEAM-focused series was a perfect fit to fulfill that need. 

What We Did

In our initial build of the strategy for The Solutioneers, Innovate By Day outlined a number of tactics to best reach the primary target audience of girls 8-10 who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM).  Shaftesbury Kids wanted to position the series as a resource for educators and parents to take socially-conscious, female-driven, collective-action content to the STEAM community. We wanted to make sure to meet the needs of Shaftesbury’s many partners (including Let’s Talk Science, EDWIN, Owl, Shaw Rocket Fund, and the Canadian Space Agency) so that their networks could be leveraged to increase the series’ reach.

As Canadians were mandated to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19 in mid-March, our team took action to implement The Solutioneers strategy earlier than planned so that parents and kids could access these resources sooner. We were able to successfully pivot the content, paid reach, social media campaign and messaging accordingly.

IMAGE: Instagram post featuring the four 12-year-old besties, coders and budding inventors called The Solutioneers
Solutioneers GIF on the Shaftesbury Kids Twitter account

The Results

With the help of Innovate By Day, Shaftesbury Kids successfully launched The Solutioneers on March 23, 2020, pivoting the plan to offer a great solution to parents and meet their new needs brought on by COVID-19 stay-at-home initiatives. 

According to Jennifer McCann, executive producer, Shaftesbury Kids and Family, the YouTube channel has since seen an 800 percent increase in subscribers and more than 995 hours of watch time (as of May 13, 2020). According to a recent article in Playback Online: 

On the streaming front, the Shaftesbury Kids YouTube channel has seen an audience spike since COVID-19. McCann says the channel has regularly posted newly produced content, such as digital series The Solutioneers and Boredom Busters, which features cast members from Shaftesbury Kids shows sharing messages of positivity while kids are staying at home in the pandemic.

The release date for The Solutioneers was moved up due to COVID-19, which McCann says “paid off” as a strategy to allow the channel to “stagger the content as we’ve moved along and grown our audience.”

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