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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
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Teach your kids to Brush with Jackson

Feb 21, 2013

Brush with Jackson Tooth Brush App
Photo source: Rosie's Playtime

Welcome to the second installment of Agent Straight-Talk’s February series celebrating pediatric dentistry.

It’s no secret that most of us have an affinity for rabbits. Thumper, Peter Cottontail, Bugs Bunny, the Trix Rabbit, “Rabbit” in Winnie the Pooh, the Energizer Bunny, E.B. in Hop, and let’s not forget the most famous rabbit of all, the Easter Bunny.

Everyone knows rabbits are cute, adorable and a little “wascally,” but it’s always fun how they manage to hop back into our lives every few years to amuse, entertain and educate children.

Jackson is the latest famous rabbit, and if you haven’t met this bushy-tailed virtual wonder yet, let us introduce you! Brush with Jackson is a 3-D animated mobile application that teaches children how to brush their teeth the fun way by allowing children to imitate him. Jackson is multilingual and can speak to children in French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and German. (German users know the toothy character as “Jacky.”) 

Available on a range of Apple iOS platforms 4.2 or higher (iPod, iPad and iPhone), the cinematic-style application was awarded a 5-star rating in 2012 from iPhone App Review. A high definition version which takes advantage of the iPad’s capabilities was featured in the iTunes Hot List last June.

But Jackson is not a one trick pony – er, bunny. He records up to one minute of video interaction with users, repeats words and phrases a child speaks, giggles when his tummy is rubbed and squeals when poked. Jackson winks when his eye is touched, twitches his nose, plays his toothbrush as a kazoo.  If you shake the device playing Jackson, he nearly topples over but rights himself just in time in a stunning display of bouncy bunny balance.

Try Jackson for free by clicking Jackson Lite. (Full version includes all the features listed above.)

Jackson is the brainchild, er, brainbunny, of John and Diana Proctor.  John is a software developer and Diana was a primary teacher for 15 years.  Today the couple lives in Edinburgh, Scotland and answered a few questions for us about Brush with Jackson via email.

First released November 23, 2011, it took Jackson less than a year to hop from video concept to virtual reality. “It took nine months from start to finish, and we employed animator Robin Gibson to work with Diana to design and animate the character,” John said.

The Proctors said the inspiration for creating a how-to-brush application for kids was based on their own family experience. “We knew from personal experience that encouraging a child to stay on task while brushing their teeth is difficult and so is dragging them away from an iPod Touch. Marrying the two seemed like a natural solution,” John wrote.

They had lots of time to discuss the idea as they began a nine-month vacation. They visited Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Borneo, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, United States, Canada and Mexico and during that time they used their daughter Rosie, as a sounding board for the idea. It was also during the trip they launched  Rosie’s Playtime, a company dedicated to creating apps encouraging healthy behaviors and habits for kids.

Once John and Diana decided that the first Rosie’s Playtime app would involve teaching kids how to brush, they had to settle on a character on which kids would relate. “We wanted him to be a cute ‘creature,’ and we were drawn to rabbits with their big teeth, healthy diet of vegetables, and we felt that a rabbit would appeal to both girls and boys,” John replied.

Oddly, neither John, Diana nor Rosie named their virtual pet. John explained, “We wanted animators to pitch for the job. When Robin (the animator) read our brief, he came up with Jackson. The name stuck as we got used to calling him that, and we also thought it would be a name that appealed to both boys and girls.”

The couple recalled that the most memorable moment of the development process occurred while in the United States. “When we first saw Jackson moving on our iPod Touch, we were sitting in a coffee shop in San Francisco,” John recalled. So what initially began as a pleasure trip became a business trip with boundless possibilities.

Within months of Jackson’s late 2011 launch the glowing reviews and accolades began multiplying:

“I think this app is nearly flawless in animation and concept. Moreover, it has a purpose. Certainly Brush with Jackson is worth a try if you have kids at home.” – Alpha Digits

“The app offers a brilliantly simple way to teach your child how to brush their teeth, and it does so in a manner that’s endearing and charming.”  iTunes

In late December last year Scotland’s popular show, Theo Paphitis’s Small Business Sunday recognized Rosie’s Playtime and Brush with Jackson for entrepreneurship. This recognition was just one of many steps the Proctor’s cite as helping to grow awareness of their app and their business. Diana also said the release of the free version of the app, Jackson Lite, and Twitter helped in their promotion efforts.

Future apps are planned involving Jackson and his family teaching kids healthy habits, but first John and Diana are riding the bounding bunny through financial hill and dell. The Proctor’s candidly admit while they are still waiting for Rosie’s Playtime to turn a profit, they continue to enjoy the different stages of the process.

“But it’s all worth it when we hear from parents who say that Jackson has turned tooth brushing from an ordeal into a fun experience, and that their child actually looks forward to brushing their teeth,” John admits.

“Perseverance has been essential to our success,” Diana adds. “Our business has been growing slowly but surely over the past year, and when we started out we could not have imagined getting to where we are now.”

Brush with Jackson is available for just $1.99 through Apple’s iTune store, and a high-definition version is sold for just $3.99.

Thanks to John and Diana Proctor for our interview via email, and thank you for reading Agent Straight-Talk. Remember: “If you don’t start out the day with a smile, it’s not too late to start practicing for tomorrow.” Email comments to AgentStraightTalk@DentalInsuranceStore.com



Copyright 2013, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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