Real Heroes Connect is an edutainment platform that was conceived as a campaign vehicle for teaching South Africa’s workforce on how to protect themselves from the coronavirus during the first stage of lockdown, when it was imperative to keep essential workers safe and healthy.
‘We are incredibly excited about Real Heroes Connect. It is a pragmatic solution to a very real problem that affects us all in many ways,’ said Candice Goodman, managing director of Mobitainment (the company that enabled the engaging tech on the videos).
Apart from the interactive questions embedded in-video, there are three features that make the initiative particularly noteworthy: the fact that they are available in multiple South African languages, the use of gamification, and the use of reverse billing.
‘To fulfil our objective of educating as many South Africans as possible, our big focus was on inclusivity, allowing us to reach and engage with people in their selected language, even with those without mobile data – to entice them to watch and learn, interactively test what they had learnt, and encourage them to easily share the message to ensure that the campaign goes viral,’ Goodman stated.
The need for the platform has expanded to include staff members in offices, schools and factories throughout the country. ‘After all, just one infected employee can place an entire workforce at risk and necessitate the closing of the workplace for deep cleaning, affecting the company’s bottom line,’ noted Jo Watt, whose company Talent Brand created Real Heroes Connect after being awarded a discretionary grant from the Health and Welfare Sector Training Authority (HWSeta).
Watt explained that Real Heroes Connect comprises a series of nine animated videos, available in both static and interactive format. The static videos may be broadcast on workplace premises, while interactive videos may be downloaded to be viewed at the user’s convenience. Importantly, viewers who complete watching the videos and then share them are entered into a draw to win their share of airtime daily. The videos contain information about coronavirus symptoms, how to prevent the spread of the virus, how to get tested, getting to work safely, physical distancing and when to self-isolate.
‘This speaks to the campaign’s four goals: to encourage viewers to complete watching each video, which will lead to the fulfilment of the second goal: ensuring employees receive comprehensive education about the virus. This, in turn, is ensured by the inclusion of testing material within each video, so that employers can be sure that the content has been understood. There is also a viral component to the campaign, as demonstrated by incentives to share the material. Finally, each video download link contains a code that makes it possible to profile viewers, creating a record of key demographics such as geography, workplace and gender but, more importantly, tracking the journey at each step in this process provides incredible insights into South Africans’ understanding and behaviour around the virus,’ Goodman said.
‘Real Heroes Connect is available in four major South African languages: English, Afrikaans, isiZulu and Setswana. This ensures that we are able to reach a broader audience. However, we have also used voiceovers and visuals rather than text so that we are able to transcend communication barriers, especially amongst populations with a lower literacy rate,’ Goodman said.
The gamification of the interactive videos is another standout feature. Although interactive videos are used overseas, this is the first time South African viewers are being tracked at each step, allowing them to be rewarded for their engagement. ‘Points are earned every time an individual watches a video to the end, every time they answer a question in the quiz that follows correctly, and every time they share the video with someone else,’ said Goodman. Mobitainment has won awards for its creative use of gamification in the past; a technique which employs the principles of gaming in the business environment, allowing users to earn rewards as they progress to a new level once they have completed a certain task.
The fact that the videos can be shared by the viewers themselves, across many social media platforms is significant, because it places control in the user’s hands and so follows the spirit and best practice of the PoPI Act. Importantly, viewers who download the video are not charged for doing so, nor do they use any data. The process of reverse billing is employed to ensure that the entire transaction can take place without users incurring any costs.