Cannes Lions

Bedtime Stories

FCB CHICAGO, Chicago / WALMART / 2022


2 Shortlisted
Case Film
Supporting Images
Case Film






Walmart was founded on the value of equitable opportunity. Racial equity is critical to their mission and their business. Incarceration in the US disproportionately affects people of color and creates a cycle of incarceration.

There are over 2 million people incarcerated in the US, creating 2.7 million unintended victims of the criminal justice system - the children. The problem is pervasive, with 1 in 28 children in the US having a parent behind bars.

The children of the incarcerated face tremendous adversity from the absence of the parental figure - anxiety, depression and academic and literacy issues. Childhood illiteracy is an indicator of future incarceration and it’s reported that 66% of children who cannot read by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.

With Bedtime Stories, we nurture bonds through books and literacy to help break the cycle of generational incarceration.


Bedtime Stories connects incarcerated parents and their children through the power of reading. The program simulates for the child the experience of reading together with their separated parent to nurture bonds and improve literacy.

How it works: Within the jail, the inmate makes an audio recording of themselves reading a children’s book. That recording is uploaded to the Bedtime Stories cloud server. Outside the jail at home, the child can access the secure recording with the Bedtime Stories app to hear their parent read a book for them just as if they are side by side.

When the child hovers the AR-enabled app over the pages of the book’s physical copy, the parent’s voice comes to life reading the book, page by page through image recognition. In addition, the parent can read special messages for their child, further simulating the read-together experience.


One of the leading indicators of future incarceration is childhood literacy. 66% of children who cannot read by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Reading with your child is the number one way to improve their literacy. But what about those parents unable to read with their child, the millions of incarcerated parents.

We partnered with Contextos, an organization providing education services at Cook County Jail, the second largest in the US with a population of 4,500 inmates - providing access to hundreds of incarcerated parents.

The separation caused by incarceration demanded a mobile-forward solution, given our audience of children - the most tech savvy generation to date. The approach was to simulate the side by side reading of a parent and child. We brought that to life using image recognition and augmented reality in a way that is educational, emotional and entertaining.


Bedtime Stories launched at the second largest jail, the Cook County Department of Corrections, in the US.

The initial phase of our program was a 10-week cycle that included forty detainees reading stories to their children, nieces and nephews and grandchildren. Within a special classroom inside CCDOC (the jail), each inmate could choose from a selection of books curated by the Chicago Public Library. The incarcerated parents individually read each story into a special recording device that was transferred to the Bedtime Stories cloud server.

10-week cycles run quarterly at CCDOC, with the goal of expanding Bedtime Stories and making it available in more communities and correctional facilities throughout the US.

The Bedtime Stories platform is designed to be scalable to serve the over 3,000 correctional facilities across the US.


The outcome of the program has been incredible. Bedtime Stories is already serving a growing number of families and children impacted by incarceration. But also importantly it has brought to the forefront the plight and issue of the unintended victims of our criminal justice system, the children of the incarcerated. This is leading correctional institutions, law enforcement and administrators to consider more than ever these vulnerable children and how we can improve their future outcomes despite the very serious odds stacked against them.

By building and reinforcing bonds with families, the program is contributing to a reduction in recidivism, reducing the likelihood of inmates returning to jail after release.

The Bedtime Stories platform is designed to be scalable to serve the over 3,000 correctional facilities across the US.

Walmart has made a pledge to continue supporting Bedtime Stories and the communities it serves.

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