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The sound of storytelling magic

When you hear Peter Pan ‘yoo-hoo’ as he glides through the sky… or listen to Coco strum the strings of his guitar, you might expect to be watching a film. But thanks to the latest advance from Disney and Google home, these magical sounds fly from the page instead. Read on to learn more about how this mega brand partnership is sprinkling a little more magic into story time.

Nov 15, 2018

When you hear Peter Pan ‘yoo-hoo’ as he glides through the sky… or listen to Coco strum the strings of his guitar, you might expect to be watching a film. But thanks to the latest advance from Disney and Google home, these magical sounds fly from the page instead. Read on to learn more about how this mega brand partnership is sprinkling a little more magic into story time.

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The bedtime story has been a firm fixture in family life for generations – bringing with it the eternal struggle of parents providing unconvincing sound effects and being told to skip to the best bit. But in the 21st century? Disney and Google Home are breathing new life into story time with one key feature – sound. The American entertainment giant has come together with Random House to release a select range of Little Golden Books – including favourites like Mickey Mouse and Alice in Wonderland, and more modern classics like Toy Story 3. To activate the feature, the reader simply has to say the words “let’s read along with Disney”. Then, Google Home will then keep pace via speech recognition – stopping when any interruptions occur, rereading lines, and even ‘skipping to the best bit’ – immersing both the reader and the child in perfectly-timed sound effects and dimming the lights for a truly enchanting experience.

This isn’t alien territory for Walt Disney – one of the world’s most celebrated and commercially successful storytellers. Since the days of Barbie Dream Houses, Scalextric, and Space Hoppers, Disney read-a-long books and records have been a favourite with children far and wide. Beautifully illustrated books first released in 1965 came with a seven-inch record to complement the 24 pages, which later became tapes and CDs. Google Home doesn’t just represent a progression from this technology, but an advancement. Unlike its predecessors, it augments the story as it’s told – making it so much more than a mere narration.

The three components that are integral to this experience are the written story, the music to accompany it and finally, the story teller. And it’s these components we utilise every day at PHMG to tell our client’s stories and keep customers connected to their brand. The most intricate of balances, composition and copy must work hand-in-hand to capture the identity of the business – while the voice delivers the message in the most powerful way.

What can we learn from the Google Home and Disney collaboration? Audio is changing, and it’s our job to adapt. 73% of smart speaker-owners say their children engage in their Amazon Echo or Google Home system – which means these companies aren’t just wowing us with their innovative new tools, but providing a whole new generation with an entirely new way of interacting with the world.