Samsung 'Look at Me' app helps autistic kids connect

In Korea, the company and its agency moves beyond marketing features to "human truth"

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — A smartphone helps autistic children connect emotionally with family members thanks to an app developed and tested by Samsung and its agency, Cheil Worldwide, in partnership with university researchers.

The brand and agency worked with academic researchers here to develop and research the effectiveness of "Look at Me," an app that purports to help children with autism improve their ability to make eye contact and identify the emotions of people in their lives. The companies produced a couple of online films (above and here) to share the story.

After eight weeks using the app, 60% of the tested children showed improvement in making eye contact and identifying emotional expressions, according to the researchers. Some parents said that their kids expressed their emotions better and that the intensitiy of emotional expressions such as surprise, happiness and disgust improved. Others reported an enhanced ability to decode the emotions of others.

"It’s been a while since we’ve tried to deliver a message beyond product features," said Wain Choi, vice president and global executive director, Cheil Worldwide. "And this one, in particular, was more about human truth and less about products. The 'Look at Me' application is truly a technology that touches our lives in a meaningful way. Imagine an innovation that brings loved ones together."

A Cheil spokesperson told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the academic researchers (see below) who ran the project used eye-tracking studies to assess the way the children looked at faces before and after the eight weeks. Most importantly, the study included a "control group" of children who did not use the app, as a means of comparison. The results have not been published formally in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, but the researchers plan to do so, according to the spokesperson. 

Campaign credits

Client: Samsung
Agency: Cheil Worldwide

ECD: Wain Choi
CD: Kevin Pereira
ACD: Jax Jung
Art direction: Joohee Lee, Seeun Kim
Copywriter: Songha Lee, Adrian Sim
Account manager: Andy Sungkyoon Wang, Diane DY Lee
Project manager: Chris Seongwook Kim
Director: Sean Yoo
Assistant director: Wooyoung Nam
Executive producer: Kyungsic Park
Producer: Hyukjun Lee
Director of photography: Hanvit Kang
1st DOP: Chihyoung Lim, Jaesung Kim
Gaffer: Woohyuk Choi
1st gaffer: Jinkwon Kim
Production company: Breakfast Film
Edit/2d company: Wideeast
Edit: Kwangho Choi
2d: Eunmi Lee, Juneseok Son, Giwoong Choi
Music company: Limlight
Music: Hojun Ryu, Hyeong-geun Lee
NTC: Seoulvision, Ockjin Jeon, Junhyong Jo, Wonwoo Choi, Soyeon Kim App production company: Design Fever
Project manager: Yeonjoo Jeong
Planner: Gaeon Kim
UI design: Jaejin Jeong, Jooheon Oh, Jooheon Oh
Character design: Jiyeon Kim
Development: Myoungah Chang, Heecheol Jeong, Juhyoen, Kim, ByoungJun, Kwak Photography: Daeho Seo
Model agency: Ready Agency (Korea) / Muse (Hong Kong)
Stylist: Songkyung Han (Korea) / Emma (Hong Kong)
Producer: Myungmoon Ko (Hong Kong)
Clinical test:
Yonsei University, Dept. of Psychology:  Prof. KyongMee Chung, Prof. Sangchul Chung, Prof. Jaewon Yang
Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Dept. of Pediatric Psychology: Heejung Yoo M.D.

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