Cannes Lions

Sounds Easy

YANDEX, Moscow / YANDEX / 2020

Case Film
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Case Film

Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

Alice is the most popular voice assistant in Russia designed by Yandex. And kids love talking to her. A lot. And it’s available for free to all owners of smartphones on Android and iOS, as Alice lives inside our Yandex Search App. First of all, the Search App helps you quickly find the information you need, but it also includes all other Yandex services, from taxi to delivery as well. 

We found out that up to 70% of Russian preschoolers suffer from Speech Sound Disorder. If untreated, this may cause dyslexia and other speech problems. What’s worse, there aren’t enough speech therapists, especially in country regions: statistics say there's 1 doctor per 420 children. And private specialists are not available for everyone because they’re pricey.

So we decided to help them and to raise awareness about access to speech therapy and its importance in general.

Idea

Our mission was to make speech training free and accessible all over Russia.

Also, we wanted to make the process easy and relevant for modern kids who spend a lot of time with their gadgets.

So we added a speech-training tool to our Search App. What’s more, we delivered this tool in a game-based form so that kids could simply talk to voice assistant Alice who lives inside our Search App and train their speech at the same time. Simple, effective, and fun.

Strategy

Our plan was to make the tool both effective and accessible. 

1.We found out that kids mostly develop their sound and speech abilities at the age from 5 to 7.?

2.We also knew that they spend a lot of time with their smartphones at a very young age.?

3.We invited speech specialists who came up with rules for every song and warm-up session.?

4.Then we created the content together with famous singers-songwriters who helped us develop training melodies and songs. The speech specialists checked songs and guided the singers during the voice-overing. ?

5.We involved the Fixies, Russia's most popular cartoon characters, and based some songs on their melodies. ?

6.This collaboration made us visible for influencers and media. And even for the Ministry of Education of Russia.?

7.The app is available on any smartphone, which makes the training free and accessible to 80 mln Alice users.?

Execution

The tool is a game-based song training inside our voice assistant Alice. 

The first step is to choose one of the characters to practice particular sounds. It can be a Fixie, a famous cartoon character, or a Soundie, a specially created character voiced by pop-singers. The second step is a warm-up: to repeat sounds after the characters. And the third step is to practice by singing a song. 

Technically, the AI-powered speech recognition technology guides the child towards correct articulation by asking him to repeat the exercise in case of deviations. 

The characters also represent skills that kids acquire if they overcome their speech difficulties. For example, a character called Bravobis looks like a disco dancer and his song is about overcoming a stage fright.

Together with a big team of enthusiasts, Yandex created songs following the complex speech therapy principles and found a way to make the training accessible.

Outcome

Due to the tool’s social significance, experts and artists offered their contributions for free.

Launching this skill made training of the 7 most difficult Russian sounds available to 80 million Alice users, a larger part of Russia’s population.

This tool tops all Alice skills for children, and ranks 5th among all skills, in customer retention. It is also one of the two most popular skills in the children's category, second only to a tooth brushing skill.

Our promo video had 97% positive feedback, a record for special projects by Yandex.

Despite its niche application, the skill had a lot of media interest with over 300 publications and the total reach of 80 million.

Crucially, our tool was appreciated by Russia’s Ministry of Education, leading to a including Sounds Easy in preschool curriculum in state-funded kindergartens and speech centers.

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