DCI Partners with Play Unplugged to Support Local Businesses, Encourage Healthy Living in Kids

9 Oct

Downtown Colorado, Inc. is excited to partner with Play Unplugged to bring an innovative program to Colorado that provides unique marketing opportunities for local businesses and encourages healthy living activities for children.

The idea behind Play Unplugged is to inspire kids to unplug from the TV, computer, and gaming systems and explore their community. What is unique about this program is that this is accomplished through a partnership with the community and local businesses. This summer program drives foot traffic in the downtown or commercial district, leading to vibrant, living streets, and provides intriguing adventures for area youth to enjoy.

How does Play Unplugged work?

A community entity (e.g., downtown business association, Main Street, etc.) spearheads the program and signs on 50-100 local businesses, each of whom sponsors a unique “brag badge.”  Each brag badge features an activity chosen by the sponsoring business—this can be something general such as hiking, stargazing, bug hunting, or something specific to the community, perhaps a trip to the local museum or completing the obstacle course at a local park. A lanyard and catalog of available badges is distributed to children through a presentation at school, and then the kids are off and running. The brag badges are artist-created and become collectibles for the children, both a treasure and a source of pride.

What are the impacts of Play Unplugged on the community?

To date, the program has only been launched in Utah. This past summer, more than 100,000 children and more than 600 businesses across 10 areas participated in the Play Unplugged program. But, those numbers don’t capture the excitement that the kids show for the program.

In one community, one badge was offered for any child willing to turn in one of his video games. After participating in the program, one 12-year-old who admitted he was addicted to his games traded in his entire gaming system at the end of the summer and said, “I don’t need this anymore.”

And the businesses are excited about the program, too: a survey of participating businesses revealed that 85 percent plan to sign up for the program again next summer.

One local business offered this advice: “Do you want to increase your foot traffic? Do Unplugged. Be sure to offer incentives and don’t be afraid to talk about your business.”

A local medical practice echoed with a similar sentiment. “The exposure you receive from being an active part of the community is priceless. We had over 1,500 people through our doors…What you get back not only as a business, but as a team is worth the price! Just do it!”

Do you want to learn more about the Play Unplugged program?

DCI is talking with communities now about signing up for Summer 2015. Contact us today to learn more about the program at 303.282.0625 or marketing@downtowncoloradoinc.org.

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