New York-based animal video producer The Dodo has secured Paramount Pictures’ upcoming live-action movie Dora and The Lost City of Gold as the first sponsor for its newly-launched Dodo Kids YouTube vertical.
A campaign is being produced by Brandshop, the in-house creative agency of The Dodo’s parent company Group Nine Media. The sponsorship includes an original short-form video series called Adventure Pals that highlights the special bond between two kid-animal duos.
Three videos will be customized from the predominantly live-footage, two-part series—one for Dodo Kids featuring animation, colorful graphics and voiceovers; another aimed at parents with young children for The Dodo’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as YouTube, that is less playful with fewer design elements; and a Spanish-language version for The Dodo’s Spanish-language channel, El Dodo. (The first parent-targeting video launched on The Dodo’s main YouTube channel yesterday, while its kid version will debut July 23 on Dodo Kids.)
Additionally, custom pre-roll videos will be produced featuring teen actress and animal lover Isabela Moner, who plays the titular character in Dora and the Lost City of Gold. The content will run before Adventure Pals and all of The Dodo’s videos on YouTube and Twitter.
Based on the iconic Nickelodeon preschool show Dora the Explorer, Dora and the Lost City of Gold features a teenage lead who heads off on an adventure with her best friend Boots the monkey. The film will premiere in the US on August 9 and is directed by James Bobin (Muppets Most Wanted, Alice Through the Looking Glass). Its producers include Paramount Players, Nickelodeon Movies and Walden Media.
Dodo president YuJung Kim says the sponsorship was secured after discussions with Paramount around the company’s main channel. “We quickly realized that the flight dates for their promotion of Dora and the Lost City of Gold coincided perfectly with the launch date of our kid’s vertical,” says Kim.
More importantly, the movie and Dodo Kids aligned on the creative side in terms of brand and audience. “Dora is inquisitive, full of adventure and playful which are words we use to describe our content,” says Kim. “And the themes of the movie and Dora’s bond with animals lined up nicely.”
According to the digital producer, The Dodo videos reach 75 million parents worldwide every month and its YouTube channel has nearly 4.4 million subscribers. Plans are also in the works to launch in more territories.
“We have a huge a following in countries like Brazil and India and major markets in Europe,” says Kim. “It speaks to the universal nature of animal content. As we look grow, we’re using El Dodo as an incubator and testing ground for scaling to international markets.”
Dodo Kids’ first three series at launch are Best Animal Friends, featuring select animals from The Dodo series Odd Couples and narration from Carly Ciarrocchi (Snug’s House, The Big Fun Crafty Show); Rescued!, which is hosted by seven-year-old animal rescuer Roman McConn from Dodo Heroes season two; and Dodo Sing Dodo Dance (pictured), a musical series that pairs original songs with popular Dodo videos. It’s produced in partnership with FableVision Studios and The Wilders and features lyrics by children’s television writer/director, Tone Thyne, and music by Aaron Verdonk and Jesse Colburn.
According to Dodo Kids’ creative lead Dave Glauber, 14 episodes of Best Animal Friends have been ordered so far, along with nine Rescued! eps and five for Dodo Sing Dodo Dance. Episode lengths range from two and a half to five and a half minutes. “New content will be posted frequently for the first series and across new franchises that we develop,” says Glauber.
Shows in development remain under wraps for now, but Dodo Kids is actively looking for like-minded partners for both creative content and sponsorships. Its expansion into merchandising and book publishing for kids is also moving forward, but the company is yet to announce any deals.