Wild Kingdom’s Golden Anniversary
In 1963, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom broadcast its first episode on NBC, sparking the adventure show genre and a television dynasty that lasted over 25 years. Now, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Wild Kingdom brand and an ambitious campaign to reengage fans of the original show.
For an entire generation of kids that have grown up without the Wild Kingdom experience and to meet its business goals, Mutual of Omaha partnered with Phenomblue to create a digital solution that would appeal to 7-to-12 year-olds—a tech-savvy audience that loves animals, video games and social media.
Welcome to My Wild Kingdom, a wild animal adventure app that lets users turn any photo or video into a fun virtual habitat and share it with their friends. Users can go on adventures, earn badges and unlock re-sizeable virtual animals to add to photos and videos. Camera filters can be engaged to customize each adventure and even capture the look of classic nature footage.
Users can unlock and choose between ten different animals to populate their photos and videos: giraffe, zebra, lion, meerkat, gorilla, alligator, kangaroo, penguin, hippopotamus and elephant.. And the whole thing is narrated by Jim Fowler, the show’s original co-host and field correspondent.
We also designed the app to get kids out of the house and interacting with actual animals. You could have the neighbor’s dog giving a piggyback ride to a tiny virtual alligator, if you want. Make sure it’s virtual, though.
My Wild Kingdom was featured as FWA's Mobile of the Day on May 6, 2013.
Kids can be a handful, as you no doubt remember from your childhood. Since the dawn of time, parents have been getting their rambunctious offspring to quiet down by letting them play with grown-up toys—phones, computers, etc. We designed My Wild Kingdom to help occupy kids in a fun, positive way when they’re goofing around on their parents’ smartphones. Plus, the app is full of fun facts about animals in their natural habitats and could spark a lifelong passion for animals, conservation and the environment.
The Technology Behind the Adventure
My Wild Kingdom allowed us to stretch our wings, so to speak. We designed the 3D and VFX environments, as well as the animation, compositing, augmented reality, interface and sound effects. We also did all of the iOS development and social media integration. The app is a seamless convergence between the digital and physical worlds, inspiring users of all ages to interact with nature via the devices they use every day.
About the Author
This article was written and compiled by Phenomblue, a brand experience agency. We are an agency of strategists, designers and engineers using technology to connect brands and people. Widely recognized as digital marketing thought leaders, Phenomblue has been featured in USA Today, Fast Company and Wired for its innovation. Work by Phenomblue has also received recognition from the Webby Awards, the CLIO Awards and the Favourite Website Awards. iMedia recently nominated Phenomblue as Best Small Agency and one of the top 25 agencies on the West Coast.