Mando and Milky Tea collaboration to educate consumers to ‘love their drains’

Award-winning digital agency Mando has partnered with animation & games development experts Milky Tea to develop a new educational game, providing a fresh solution for challenges faced by client Northumbrian Water Group.

Now live in the Apple Store & Google Play and free to download, Dwaine Dash is a brand new game designed to educate people about what should – and shouldn’t – be flushed down the toilet.

Dwaine Dash stars comical character Dwaine Pipe promoting his simple message, “Only paper, pee and poo go down the loo”. It aims to educate players about a growing sewerage problem: build-ups caused by “fatbergs” of oil and fat, and blockages caused by nappies and wipes.  Even teddy bears have had the undignified end of being flushed down the loo!

The game aspect is designed to enable NWG to engage children more easily and has already been very well received by NWG staff, children and consumers. It’s an ioS and Android native game built on primary gaming platform Unity, and is a continuous running game similar to “Minion Run” and “Subway Surfer”, so kids will catch on quickly.

The game opens with a catchy song outlining the dos and don’ts, “Please think twice before you flush…” Tap start and Dwaine Pipe jumps into the loo, swooshing down through the sewers. Players collect points by guiding him to hit the paper, pee and poo while avoiding the nasties, including the perfect reminder of no toys down the loo: a teddy bear. Having a leader board also brings in the competitive element which children love.

Mando’s expert test volunteer, age 11, gave this feedback:

“This is a great game. I want to play it again and again. The more I play it, the more the song gets into my head and I’m learning what should and shouldn’t be flushed.”

Dwaine Pipe is already an established mascot for NWG, appearing in their annual marketing campaign “Love Your Drain”, which takes Dwaine’s message out into schools and communities.  Dwaine Dash marks his first steps into the digital world, bringing to life in game form a character which started out paper-based, has starred in animations on NWG’s website, and is ready to express a playful side.

Drain blockages cost NWG a staggering £1m last year alone to remove 3000 tons of waste from its 29,000 kilometre sewer network – costs which could ultimately drive up bills. They can cause very unpleasant floods in homes. Of the 17,500 blockages the company expects to clear each year, over half of them are avoidable, showing that educating NWG’s service users of all ages is vital.

Steve Swann, Creative Director at Mando, said of the project:

“We were really excited with the opportunity of developing Dwaine Pipe into a game with our friends at Milky Tea, and it’s been fun bringing the characters to life. Our team had a real drive for wanting to work on this. Designing a gaming experience is always going to make your team want to take up the challenge.

“Our thinking behind the game was two-fold. We wanted to educate children using a digital channel as all children now are engaging with games via ipads and mobiles. We also wanted to give Northumbrian Water an interactive element to the road shows they do around visiting schools.

“It’s been a while since Mando worked on games but this is something we really wanted to make a mark with. We worked closely with the team at Milky Tea and they enabled us to really understand what was possible with the gaming elements.”

Jon Holmes, Founder and MD at Milky Tea, said:

“The project involved us taking illustrations provided by Northumbrian Water for their Love Your Drain campaign and crafting them into a fun and educational app.

“We took the original 2D illustrations and then worked them up into 3D models, which were animated and brought to life to create the ‘endless runner’ style game experience. It was awesome to work alongside Mando on this project and to now see it live in the app store.”

Jennie Collingwood, Marketing Manager at NWG, said:

“Dwaine Pipe is a great ambassador for helping our customers look after their drains and keep the water flowing. Dwaine has already starred in his very own animation and makes regular guest appearances at schools and events, so the obvious next step for him is to go mobile and have his own game.

“Gamification brings issues to life in the modern day and our customers of all ages already tell us that they’re enjoying Dwaine Dash, battling to see who’s best at making sure that only toilet paper, pee and poo go down the loo.”

Northumbrian Water Group first trialled the game at Metro Centre in beta. Following its success Dwaine Dash is now being promoted via their partnership with Global Radio and at experiential events at shopping centres around the region.

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