Kids & Alcohol Don't Mix - An Animated Series Educating Pre-teens About the Risks of Underage Drinking
Responsibility.org approached us with an idea for a video series that would inform pre-teens about the risks of underage alcohol use. The strategy was to clearly convey the scientific facts, showing students exactly how alcohol could affect them, and helping them to reach their own conclusions – rather than just telling them not to drink. Also, we planned to use relatable characters and humor to keep kids engaged and open to the message.
Script & Concept Development
During our initial meeting with Responsibility.org, we discussed our goals, target audience and content logistics. The series would feature 7 episodes: an overview, and 6 sub-chapters dedicated to specific parts of the brain, covering how the brain works, how alcohol affects the brain, and how that, in turn, affects behavior and health.
To drive immediate identification with our audience, we decided that the series would feature and be narrated by two middle-school aged kids. We also decided to use an abstract non-human character to represent both alcohol, and a person affected by alcohol. This allowed us to illustrate the effects of alcohol in a clear, engaging way, without suggesting judgement or fear around adult drinkers (who might resemble someone the viewers would know), or showing our kid heroes engaging in questionable behavior.
In addition to materials provided by Resonsibility.org, we studied library and Internet sources as we prepared to write the scripts. (The team members were all brain experts by the end of the project!) We aimed for clarity, humor, and consistency in voice/structure to strengthen the consistency and identity of the series.
Character & Design Development
We explored a number of different approaches for the heroes before we found the right balance of fun and friendly. The alcohol character had an even broader range of early possibilities.
Once we had solid concepts for all the main characters, we fine-tuned and fully realized the designs. Simultaneously, we developed the basic style guide for the series – establishing a color palette, font choice, and design conventions for the other foreground and background elements.
Following an extensive audition process, we found the perfect voice talent for our characters and recorded the voiceover tracks.
We created the storyboard for each video, sketching the most fun, clear, and unexpected ways to represent and react to the voiceover. We also aimed to incorporate age-relevant scenarios – from selfies, to sports teams, to video games – whenever possible. Each new video required new design for new backgrounds, characters, and scenes.
We then assembled moving storyboards, to preview the basic timing for each piece, and moved into animation – dividing the scenes between our animators, who used their individual strengths to add personality and life to every scene.
Following a final assembly with music and sound effects, we delivered the finished videos as seen below. We were very happy with the final product, as was our client:
“Thanks so much for all your hard work – everyone loves the videos. We really enjoyed
working with you guys and have been so impressed with the product."
Central Nervous System
Ask, Listen, Learn has also launched a new website as a educational resource, and the home of their new campaign:
We are an eclectic group of directors, producers, designers, illustrators, and animators who can effectively communicate through engaging animation.
We love collaborating with smart, creative partners like Responsibility.org to create videos that make an impact!
About Ask, Listen, Learn
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org), formerly The Century Council, a national not-for- profit dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, developed Ask, Listen, Learn alongside a team of educators and psychologists specializing in middle school-aged students.