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United Concordia, Philly zoo twinkle with gaming app promo

Dental insurance provider United Concordia and the Philadelphia Zoo launched a three-year partnership focused on the importance of dental health among children and animals via mobile application Chomper Chums that offers participants free tickets to the Zoo.

Chomper Chums will connect oral health to overall wellness with a mobile game, which children can play by collecting digital coins to feed an animal of their choice. The purpose is for children to choose healthy food options for the animals, as children should make similar choices for themselves.

?The Chomper Chums app and scavenger hunt are great tools to help connect kids with wildlife while encouraging good oral health,? said Dana Lombardo, director of communications at the Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia. ?The partnership with United Concordia is a good alignment and we?re excited to partner with them.?

Gaming for health
Children begin the game by choosing from one of three animals, such as a lion, horse or alligator. For every time users brush, rinse and floss, they receive digital coins to use toward food for the animals.

If healthy foods are chosen for the animals, they become stronger, teaching the children healthy habits. Users become ?Chomper Chum Champions? by maintaining their own daily oral health on the app and by making wise choices for the animals.

Once users have logged their brushing, rinsing and flossing routines twice every day for six weeks, they will earn a free ticket to the Philadelphia Zoo. Each family can earn up to two tickets. At the zoo, the Chomper Chums excursion continues with a scavenger hunt.

The app also contains daily tips for users, such as reminders to floss after brushing and the discouragement of the consumption of sodas.

"This is a fun and engaging app that helps parents establish healthy brushing habits for their kids,? said Melissa Apanel, director of marketing at United Concordia, Harrisburg. ?Through this collaboration, we hope to educate kids and parents on the importance of oral wellness.?

The probable goal of this initiative is to educate young visitors of the zoo about the importance of oral health among the zoo animals, which is comparable to their own oral health.

Dental deeds
The dental insurance provider engaged consumers and promoted better dental oral hygiene with a mobile social campaign that asked consumers to vote for one of three charities.

The Champions for Wellness campaign ran through November 2013 and ended with a total of $25,000 awarded to three charities: American Diabetes Association, March of Dimes and Arthritis Foundation. United Concordia worked with ePrize to power the campaign, which was accessible via desktop and mobile (see story).

Similarly, Procter & Gamble?s Oral-B rolled out an innovative iPhone application that tracks a consumer's daily tooth brushing to serve up tips and related content.

The oral health care brand?s new Oral-B app was the first part of an upcoming group of digital tools that use data to help consumers with their day-to-day oral health care. The Oral-B app is available as a free download from Apple?s App Store and syncs with the brand?s power brush (see story).

While dental hygiene is a given when it comes to a daily health routine, embracing in mobile-social campaigns likely give dental-oriented companies more of a competitive edge.

?In any app for kids, you have to find a way to engage them, make it fun and easy for them to learn, and create a positive reward for positive behavior,? said Scott Michaels, executive vice president at Atimi, Vancouver. ?Animals are used all the time for this purpose as well as in gamification. 

?You have both happening here with this campaign. The real world rewarding of the free ticket to the zoo is also great for the local population. This may cause a bit of an issue with kids who can't get there, but it will at least then spawn a conversation with the parents about the Zoo, which may end up with a visit to the local one.? 

Mr. Michaels is not affiliated with the Philadelphia Zoo or United Concordia but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Marketer, New York