3 Little Minutes.

Focus Area

Early Learning in the Home

Innovation Lever

Existing Platform


Proof of Concept



3 Little Minutes is a mobile SMS campaign that provides caregivers data-free access to (roughly) 3 minute songs and stories housed on a mobi-site. The aim is to provide busy caregivers with the means and motivation to spend time talking, singing and playing with their children as a way of boosting brain development.

The Problem.

Every child needs at least one stable and committed relationship with a parent/ caring adult, who is responsive to their early learning needs. However, caregivers are burdened with numerous responsibilities and struggle to engage regularly with their children. In addition, many parents assume that learning begins when school does. They are not aware of the simple, but powerful learning opportunities that lie in their everyday interactions with their young child. This innovation speaks directly to that gap.

The Innovation.

3 Little Minutes was the winning idea from the WWP Stream South Africa pitch competition hosted by Innovation Edge in 2018. WPP Stream South Africa is a pan-Africa (un)conference that brings together a small number of media and technology leaders, for three days, to debate the future of creativity, technology and business across Africa. The pitch competition in 2018 focused on Innovation Edge’s ‘Daily Brain-Building Interactions’ investment area. It sought ideas aimed at supporting parents to make the most of everyday moments for learning. 

In just a few hours, a team from Jupiter Drawing Room in Cape Town came up with and pitched an idea called 3 Little Minutes – creating and delivering 3 minute-long stories and songs to busy caregivers of young children, as a way of making it easy and fun for them to interact with their children on a routine everyday basis. The co-founders of Out There Media and Out There Impact who were in the audience, promptly offered to deliver the campaign via their award-winning platform, Mobucks™, on a pro bono basis. Mobucks™ technology links the mobile operator industry with companies wanting to advertise to very specific audiences using mobile messaging. It allows for granular targeting, campaign planning, campaign creation and management, execution, delivery and optimization as well as detailed analytics and reporting.

While smartphone apps and messaging apps like WhatsApp are being seen as a way to reach caregivers at scale, text messages (SMSs) remain important for reaching low-income parents. In cases where parents are too busy, too preoccupied or too uncomfortable with reading to their children, a small “nudge” in the form of a text message can help caregivers overcome the tendency to delay these interactions. This has been proven by programmes such as Ready4k, a text messaging platform that provides caregivers with facts, tips and activities that promote learning by building on existing routines and behaviours. Through a series of randomized controlled trials, Ready4k showed that this approach to stimulating parental engagement accelerated learning by 2-3 months in school going children over the course of a year.

How it works

1.) Pre-selected mothers receive a SMS inviting them to sign up to access 3 minute songs and stories:- “Help your child to learn at home with 3 Little Minutes – stories and songs that you can access FOR FREE. No data costs at all! Storytelling and singing builds brains!”⁣

2.) When the mother clicks on the sign up link she immediately sees the ‘welcome’ page on the 3 Little Minutes mobi-site, where she is invited to select the number of children she has and to enter their ages. The mobi-site has been designed to be responsive to both smart and feature phones.⁣

3.) After entering the number of children and their ages, she is taken to a page where she is able to select songs or stories. Her choice (songs or stories) takes her to the next page which contains links to a number of (roughly) 3 minute-long songs or stories. ⁣

4.) Once she has clicked on a link to a specific song or story, she is presented with a page with an audio file. Each piece of content includes a related narrated prompt encouraging her to engage with her child/children (by talking, singing or playing) during and after the story or song.⁣

5.) After signing up, the mother receives regular nudges in the form of SMSs, at times when she is likely to be most able to engage with her child/children, prompting her to select her next song or story. ⁣

None of the steps above cost the mother anything at all! ⁣

Why we invested.

This investment aligns with, and provides the opportunity to, experiment and learn within our strategic priority area of ‘Shared Value.’ 

The business opportunity Out There Media is pursuing through this new product is one that contributes to their new business unit – Out There Impact – launched in 2019. They’re actively seeking to grow their business base to include clients who are invested in driving social impact, while simultaneously doing good through the work produced and distributed for these clients. 

This investment will provide useful insights into what might drive businesses within different industries to adopt and sustain a shared value approach to doing business – where both financial and social impact outcomes are derived as a result.

The Project Team

Stavy Nikolaou, Group Account Director (Out There Media): Stavy is a digital native with over 10 years of experience in the advertising industry and has been driving major Fortune 500 brands and agency campaigns across Europe and Asia. Previously she worked in top global, award-winning agencies such as Publicis and Havas.

Rovertos (Rob) Bampicha, Creative Director (Out There Media): Rob holds over 15 years of experience in the creative space across all devices and media and has won many awards for his creative work. Before joining Out There Media as Creative Director, he was New Media Creative Director at JNL+ and prior to that he was Creative Director at Imako Media, serving customers like Hyundai, Nintendo, Philipp Morris or BP.