Following hundreds of submissions from West Australians, both online and in-person during the Telethon weekend, the fuzzy blue star of the new campaign was named Bobbie. The name Bobbie was seen as friendly, adaptable and connected to the brain.
In the innovative television campaign, ‘Bobbie’ represents the developing brain of a young child. The animated creature provides insights into the remarkable receptiveness and learning capacity of the infant brain, which forms more than one million neural connections every second.
The campaign was developed by CoLab, a partnership between the Minderoo Foundation and the Telethon Kids Institute and is underpinned by the latest child development science.
From birth, babies build skills through regular, active engagement. The Bright Tomorrows Start Today campaign aims to build understanding of the way meaningful moments, early and often, build young brains. The campaign aims to build community awareness of the amazing ways babies learn through positive back and forth interactions with adults.
Director of CoLab, Professor Donna Cross said research showed brain development was a highly interactive process.
“Babies reach out for connection through sounds, facial expressions and gestures. When we respond to them, we have to build the foundations of their brain architecture – it is from this foundation that their skills continue to develop,” Prof. Cross said.
“For many years, people believed babies brains were like sponges that absorbed what was happening around them, but research tells us babies’ brains are developed by positive back and forth interactions between babies and their caregivers. ”
The Bobbie character, which premiered in 2018 on Channel 7’s Telethon, is intended to be a part of an ongoing national campaign to raise the profile of early childhood development as an issue of collective policy significance.
Bright Tomorrows Start Today was developed by creative agency 303 MullenLowe and production company Siamese. The messaging was guided by US-based research organisation FrameWorks Institute.