ROANOKE, Va. (March 21, 2019) – Virginia 811 and Roanoke Gas were recently recognized by the Western Virginia American Advertising Federation with a Judges Choice and a Gold Addy award for “The Wonders Right Under” interactive exhibit recently installed inside Kids Square, a children’s museum in Roanoke, Virginia. The American Advertising Awards is one of the industry’s largest creative competitions, attracting nearly 35,000 professional and student entries nationally each year through local club competitions. Project partners included advertising agency Access and exhibit producer Castaño Group.

A 2014 survey indicates a significant number of homeowners do not contact prior to a project. A major impediment to homeowners contacting Virginia 811 is education. “Our mission is to protect underground utility lines during construction and weekend projects,” said Rick Pevarski, VA811 president and CEO. “To educate the do-it-yourself crowd, we had to reach homeowners and this opportunity to install an interactive display at a children’s museum offered a large, attentive pool of parents, caretakers and grandparents.

Roanoke Gas vice president and COO, Jim Shockley, added, “Children love playing in the immersive environment, while the adults look on and learn all about underground utility protection programs. This was a great opportunity to educate residents about gas lines and other utilities beneath their feet.”

Kid’s Square originally approached Roanoke Gas regarding an opportunity to sponsor a current display, however, the utility provider saw a chance to support its community partner. Roanoke Gas and Virginia 811 tasked Access with development of a unique, interactive display that would entertain and educate the community. A fully interactive digital playground titled The Wonders Right Under was conceived. The interactive display, built by the Castaño Group, was punctuated by an originally illustrated digital world and powered by a complex computer program. Dozens of unique actions can be initiated by children’s play as the immersive game progresses, encouraging kids to solve puzzles and reveal the wonders down under.

An estimated 35,000 kids visit The Wonders Right Under display each year, with playtime varying from minutes to hours. Virginia 811’s message permeates throughout.