Kids2 Connection, Issue 8 May 2021
In This Issue
- A Note from Ryan
- Baby Einstein is Back on TV Screens!
- "Alexa, Play Baby Einstein Music"
- Ni Hao, Baby Einstein!
- Baby Einstein Classics Still a Hit
- Meet the Crew!
- From the Screen to the Shelf – Bringing the Sandbox Cast to Life!
- Inside Kids2
- Are you following our brands and Kids2 Corporate on Social Media?
A Note from Ryan
Have you heard? Baby Einstein grows again!
It has been 25 years since Baby Einstein first appeared on TV screens in living rooms around the world, quickly becoming a phenomenon that still resonates with families today. Since acquiring the brand, we have constantly been asked if/when we will create the next generation of Baby Einstein videos – well, the wait is finally over…We are excited to announce that Baby Einstein is returning to its roots with the recent launch of the brand’s first scripted series – Sandbox. Once again connecting the screen to the shelf in stores, furthering the demand for Baby Einstein and deepening the relationship with our consumers.
Sandbox launched exclusively on Roku on May 1 – and since then the Baby Einstein app on Roku has seen TRIPLE the downloads!
This updated and modern spin on Baby Einstein builds on the brand’s legacy of educational video content, but in a way that is more relevant to today’s families. The 10-episode series was thoughtfully written to bring the beloved original Baby Einstein characters to life. The show explores topics we know parent’s today care about, and provides an approachable way to inspire them to teach their children larger socio-emotional lessons like compassion, empathy, responsibility, and inclusion.
The Sandbox characters have already started being incorporated into Baby Einstein products showing up on shelves – and keep an eye out for some of our best-selling Baby Einstein products making cameos in the show. The goal is to create an immersive environment of curiosity, where families interact with the same characters and reinforce the same important topics in the shows they watch, the toys they play with, and the books they read with their children.
On June 16 the Sandbox series will be made available on various streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.
So go ahead and dig-in to Baby Einstein’s Sandbox. I’d love to hear what you think!
Click here to check out the first episode:
Watch The Sandbox - S1:E1 The Xylophone (2021) Online for Free | The Roku Channel | Roku
Baby Einstein is Back on TV Screens!
Baby Einstein’s new Sandbox series launched on Roku May 1. The 10-episode series, which will be streaming exclusively on Roku through June 15 before being made available on various platforms, was thoughtfully written to bring the beloved original Baby Einstein characters to life, giving them each unique personalities, interests, talents, and cultural backgrounds.
Sandbox goes beyond ABCs and 123s, introducing values and skills essential to creating a better world. Each episode follows the curious cast of characters as they embark on adventures big and small, exploring the world around them and learning how to interact with their environments. The characters will together introduce concepts of culture and diversity by helping each other discover different countries, languages, traditions, and climates. The new series serves as a tool to empower parents to teach children at home or on-the-go, reinforcing Baby Einstein’s belief that parents truly are their baby’s first teacher.
Just like everything under the Baby Einstein brand, “The Einstein Way” was used to guide the creation of Sandbox. This is a proprietary learning philosophy that combines STEAM education, open-ended Montessori teaching methods, and childhood cognitive developmental science. The Einstein Way promotes principles like real-world contextual learning, creative thinking skills, collaboration, and the use of technology as a tool of possibility.
"Alexa, Play Baby Einstein Music"
The music featured in the beloved “Baby Einstein Classics” – which are the original compilation of videos released in 1996 that included a library of over 400 songs – were made available on various streaming platforms at the end of last year. It’s clear families have been enjoying these songs, as in just a few short months, Baby Einstein hit over 10k followers on Spotify! Starting this summer, Baby Einstein will be releasing new songs from the Sandbox series. The milestone of 10k followers raises Baby Einstein’s visibility within the popular app -- meaning any new releases will get preference in kids music searches and will be promoted on Spotify’s "Release Radar.”
Baby Einstein is also now showing up on the front page for Apple Music’s Kids and Family section. Both of these accomplishments help more people discover and rediscover the Baby Einstein brand.
Ni Hao, Baby Einstein!
Baby Einstein is headed to screens across China – introducing curiosity through “edutainment” to millions of new families. Insights show that educational content rates highly among parents in China, and the original Baby Einstein Classics provides this tremendous audience a new, yet trusted content offering.
This is made possible through a partnership with video distributor, PPW, who will launch the Baby Einstein original content – all 34 full-length classics -- on Chinese streaming platforms: Xigua, Youku, Tencent and iQiyii.
Baby Einstein Classics Still a Hit
Despite premiering 25 years ago, it’s clear that the original Baby Einstein video and music content is still highly relevant, and something today’s parents continue to turn on again, and again. Our Classic content has amassed some pretty impressive figures and with the launch of the new Sandbox series, we can’t wait to see these numbers continue to grow!
- 60+ million hours of content watched on our YouTube channel
- 550+ million views of Baby Einstein content
- 36+ million songs listened to
- 145+ million episodes watched
- 700k+ subscribers on YouTube
Meet the Crew!
While many of the Baby Einstein characters have been featured in our products or appeared in the original Classic video content, the Sandbox series is the first time we have really brought these characters to life -- giving them each unique personalities, voices, interests, talents, and cultural backgrounds.
We know families will fall for a personal favorite and be drawn to Baby Einstein products that will feature members from our colorful crew!
From the Screen to the Shelf – Bringing the Sandbox Cast to Life!
A lover of music, Earl the Elephant was a natural fit to be the Baby Einstein Sandbox character featured in our new portable Radio Soother that will be launching at the beginning of 2022.
The first Baby Einstein product that will come preloaded with music from the Sandbox series as well as the broader Baby Einstein music library, this unique product is packed with features we know parents are looking for and children will love.
Meet the Man who Brought the Beloved Baby Einstein Characters to Life
Charlie Mitchell is a bit of a legend around Kids2. As our Principal Toy Designer, Charlie is responsible for bringing personality and “magic” into our toys – and not only is he really good at his job, he’s also one of the most likeable guys around. So when it came time to refresh and bring the beloved Baby Einstein characters to life for the creation of the first scripted animated content in the brand’s tenured history, there was no one better suited for the job than Charlie.
We sat down with Charlie to ask him a few questions and get a peek into what the process was like behind the scenes on this exciting project…
The original Baby Einstein Characters
The new Baby Einstein Characters
Q: Tell us a little bit about what went into the “redesign” of the original Baby Einstein characters to bring to life the crew we see today?
A: I was the one asked to redo and refresh the Baby Einstein characters. They needed to be more baby-friendly and cuter. We had to make them look like they were all a part of the same family. First, we needed to make sure we kept the same design elements and feel for each character. The original Baby Einstein characters were very complicated and had a ton of detail and sharp angles. We needed to simplify the characters so that they were all softer, rounder, and - most importantly - cuter.
We all felt like they were a little stiff and needed to come to life. Not all the characters were consistent in their design. The eyes, mouths, and body shapes were inconsistent. They needed to look like a family and that means using consistent shapes. We needed to minimize detail because when they are manufactured as a toy, each detail costs more money. Simplify, simplify, simplify!
The third thing we needed to remedy was making sure all the characters would pass safety requirements once they were produced as toys. We needed to make the arms and legs shorter and round with no fingers or toes. The body and head shapes needed to be rounder and bigger. One thing I always focus on when I design a character is cuteness. I have come up with a formula: What makes babies of any kind so cute? They have oversized features, larger heads with their eyes, nose, and mouth that drop lower in the head. The Baby Einstein characters needed to look like cute babies.
Q: What do you think is one of the most important parts in the process of bringing a character to life?
A: For me, one of the most important phases when designing a character is to make sure you bring them to life. I do many sketches of them moving and interacting with other characters. It really helps when developing their individual personalities. I work very hard on this because it means the most to me. The reason most of us love the Disney and Pixar characters is because they are alive! You need to figure out how do they move: what do they do when they are singing, running, and interacting with other characters? Do they tilt their heads when they talk, do they close their eyes when thinking or daydreaming? Exploring this part of the design helps me to start and develop personalities. This part is one of the biggest challenges but the most fun for me as a designer.
Q: What was the biggest challenge in bringing the Baby Einstein characters, some of which are 25 years old and have never really been given personalities, to life?
A: The original characters stood for certain things. Characters represented music, color, shapes, etc. This really limited what we could design. For instance, if you wanted to do a music-themed toy you had to use the character that stood for music. We wanted the new characters to have very different personalities that tied into learning. The teams wanted them all to be able to cross the lines when needed. We hired an outside group that specialized in writing the backstories for characters. They took my original sketches and began their development. It takes a village to do this. We had trend and surface, Marketing, insights, sales, and industrial design working as a team to help do this. It was so much fun to watch everyone work together. It took over a year of us all working together to get something concrete. Of course, it feels like the characters develop more every year with new books, designs, and now animation. It has been a pleasure to be a part of this wonderful group of talented people from all parts of our company. We each do our part every day to make the characters and the brand better. I feel blessed to have been a part of their creation, and I am very proud of the work we have done.
Q: What was the best part about working on this project?
A: My favorite part was watching the characters go from blue line sketches to 2D color art to 3D models. It was like I was watching a child come to life. Watching them on video is even better. All the hard work for many years is coming to life. I cannot wait to see what will happen in 10 years. I think it would be wonderful to have a full-length movie one day. I told Ryan 15 years ago that we needed an animation studio, and he made it happen!*
*That’s a little teaser to some exciting news we hope to share very soon ??
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If not, you’re missing out.
Kids2 is a global company that designs solutions to help early-stage parents and families create tiny wins that build bright futures. The Kids2™ brand portfolio includes the leading infant, baby, and toddler brands Baby Einstein®, Bright Starts®, and Ingenuity®. Headquartered in Atlanta, Kids2 spans globally with 12 offices on four continents serving customers in more than 90 countries and has been inventing and reinventing baby products for 50 years. Led by CEO Ryan Gunnigle, it operates with an agile start-up approach, which fosters the company’s growing success.