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StorySign, Huawei’s initiative to help children with deafness

People with deafness, particularly children, face various challenges outside due to lack of access to special education. Although it does exist, not many can access it. Did you know that there are at least 32 million deaf children in the world?

To take a market as a reference and understand the problem, for example, in the case of the United Kingdom, there are only 20 specialized schools to serve the more than 45 thousand deaf children, which means that 78 percent of these children attend normal schools with little or no special help. And due to cuts made by that government, there are 14 percent fewer teachers for those who have this problem, while there has been a 31 percent increase in the demand for their services.

The situation is one that is replicated in various parts of the world and has led to the identification that 90 percent of deaf children are born with parents who do hear. This implies that their parents may not be able to communicate with sign language fluently and cannot support their children in school, which is a challenge in terms of education for the deaf community. Faced with this situation, Huawei decided to intervene in this matter with FCB London, creating the StorySing campaign, of which we will see the details below.

StorySing: Stories accessible to everyone

The idea for this campaign was born with the intention of changing the history of deaf illiteracy and showcasing the power of Huawei smartphone technology. Thus, a concept was needed that would offer real change for a generation of deaf children, so the first global literacy platform was created for them, dubbed StorySign.

In a few words it can be understood as a free and innovative application, with the ability to scan the words in selected children’s books and instantly translate into sign language, using the most advanced sign avatar to date.

With this, for the first time children with this problem and their parents can learn to read and sign together.

Among the most striking aspects of the project is that StorySign uses the power of the artificial intelligence of the boy Kirin of Huawei to boost the existing OCR technology. With AI the app is more accurate, reads text at 45 degrees with problem-free image recognition, and even works in low-light settings, for example, to read when it’s time to sleep.

The project reached such a scale that it is available in 11 countries and is supported by 11 international organizations focused on this disability.

Among the interesting details that led to StorySign becoming a reality, it stands out that research conducted by the parties involved found that in addition to 90 percent of deaf children having parents who do hear, 57 percent of deaf students fail. trying to achieve basic grades in school. And less than 40 percent of deaf adults are employed.

The root of the problem was that deaf children have trouble reading because they cannot learn phonics. With that in mind, the insight was that if they were helped to link words to signs, there would be a significant increase in what these children can do in the future. That was where Huawei found its opportunity as it believed that the positive power of AI could help as it is integrated into its smartphones.

With the above in mind, the strategic approach was twofold. On the one hand, it sought to change the history of deaf children, while on the other hand it sought to improve the perception of the Huawei brand before the global audience, showing that its artificial intelligence can solve real human problems.

For the execution of the campaign, the alliance of top-level partners was required for more than a year. Working with the aforementioned 11 international organizations ensured that StorySign put the needs of deaf children at the center.

The campaign had the collaboration of Penguin Random House, the world’s largest Publisher, which was the firm that added its library of books.

On the other hand, Aardman Anmation was in charge of creating “Star”, the most advanced avatar for signs. Its creation was one with details to appeal to children from 0 to 5 years old.

Finally, tests were done with families and schools to determine that everything was an effort-free experience for users. The kids just had to place their phone over the words in the books, and StorySign took care of the sign language translation.

As a result, it was possible to exceed the established objectives, it was even achieved that this application was launched in the following year (2019) in China by the hand of 52 new books.

It also succeeded in increasing awareness of the problem of illiteracy among deaf people. The campaign had a reach of 1.5 billion people. The developed film reached 128 million views. In addition, the project was covered with more than a thousand pieces on the international level. While the value of the earned media was estimated at 11.4 million pounds.

In relation to what Huawei was looking for for its brand, perception was improved by 19.9 percent in the first 2 months.

Finally, in the field of advertising, StorySign managed to win 19 awards at the last Cannes Lions edition, among which at least 4 gold awards stood out.

Campaign credits

Client: Huawei

Campaign name: storySign

Agency: FCB London

Production: FCB London