On the EDGE Conservation, a charitable foundation dedicated to the promotion of biodiversity and conservation, has outlined its ‘ambitious plans’ to build its IP portfolio, that include bringing the stars of its new digital YouTube series to the toy and plush aisles.
The plans form part of a wider initiative from On the EDGE Conservation (or OTEC) and its mission to bring to message of environmental awareness and conservation to children, as it builds on its successful debut in the mobile gaming and educational publishing space with a new virtual influencers concept.
Designed to engage young YouTube audiences, the firm has created a series of content, presented in a first of its kind, virtual influencer concept, that highlights the predicament of endangered animals in a format recognised and enjoyed by children today. The YouTube channel will host weekly, short form video diaries posted by characters Lexi the Aye Aye and Eric the Pangolin. They will be joined by Tegan the Kakapo in the coming weeks.
Using motion capture technology, OTEC has created the virtual influencer series using actors to play each of the endangered animals. These characters each share their culturally relevant stories with children, while subtly educating them on their habitats and the dangers they face.
Lexi the Aye Aye is a wannabe superstar DJ living in London, while Eric the Pangolin is studying environmental science at university.
These virtual influencers are the brainchild of experienced content-maker Bruna Capozzoli who has invented modern-day lifestyles for the characters and commissioned Emmy award-winning screenwriting partnership, Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler to create storylines that will resonate with kids.
“In this project we have really evolved our storytelling,” said Capozzoli, head of creative content at OTEC.
“Through the beauty of virtual influencers, we have surpassed relaying retrospective news and moved towards cultural commentary. The key to ensuring our characters could evolve and gain lives of their own was mastering the technology that sits behind motion capture.”
Alongside the first introduction of the new YouTube series last week, OTEC has outlined its ambitious plans to leverage its IP in future across different channels including licensing, third-party brand collaborations and co-produced content.
Beth Blood, founder and CEO of OTEC, said: “Our project doesn’t stop with YouTube. We have ambitious plans to leverage our IP across multiple channels including licensing, But OTEC’s values will determine our licensing criteria – not just sustainably-sourced but in keeping with our mission to promote biodiversity.
“Looking ahead, our dream is for kids to have plush versions of Lexi and Eric in their bedrooms, whilst tuning in to the day-to-day lives of these virtual characters – including the conversations they may spark with real life influencers – on platforms such as Instagram and Tik Tok.”
The On the EDGE YouTube channel follows the launch of mobile game, Kakapo Run, and underpins OTEC’s ambition to promote biodiversity differently. By using popular digital platforms, OTEC hopes to inspire and engage a growing number of young activists to champion all of the diversity of life in our natural world.
Blood added: “By giving a voice to unfamiliar but endangered animals through modern story-telling techniques, we will promote biodiversity as something to be celebrated in pop culture.
“The characters in our animation are delightful and surprising, making refreshing new spokes-animals for the wonders of the natural world and the challenges it faces.”