One of the big problems with buying products for babies is that the users can’t explain whether they like what they’re getting. Adults get in the habit of asking other adults for recommendations and forget that they can eventually go straight to the source. Babies grow up into kids, and kids have opinions!
So the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development created a program that features kids’ reviews of attractions in the state. More than 200 children wore a “laugh tracker,” a bit of tech similar to a pedometer but for audible laughter, while visiting parks, zoos, hiking trails and outdoor sites. The devices measured heart rate and listened for responses, parsing loud talking, shouting and crying from squeals and giggles. More than 36,000 laughs were recorded over 450 kid-hours.
The campaign from VMLY&R also enlisted country singer and native Tennessean Dolly Parton, whose eponymous amusement park Dollywood hosted many of the kids at its new attraction, Wildwood Grove. “When I hear a child laugh, that is the most joyful sound in the world to me. You forget to laugh yourself when you get a little older,” she says in a short film explaining how the laugh trackers work. “Sometimes you let all your troubles and your worries get on you. But to hear a little kid laughing—just to hear that freedom and that glee and that joy—it’s like good medicine to me.”
Kids could also record their own video reviews in “Kid Reviewed” booths across the state. The reviews have been compiled online, where parents looking for kid-friendly places to visit can browse them.