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Beano characters take over Fun Kids

Sean's moment of horror

Sean’s moment of horror. Don’t tell Ofcom.

Guest contributor Matt Deegan explains how Fun Kids and The Beano collaborate to raise awareness of their respective properties, and how a Fun Kids presenter ended up in a Beano storyline.

Fun Kids is a children’s radio station that broadcasts on DAB Digital Radio in London as well as online and on mobile. We have two objectives for the stations that we always keep in mind – make money and grow awareness.

The first is important, without it the station would fold. The second is the key issue facing any media product today – how do you tell people that you exist and encourage them to trial the product. Once they do that it’s clearly the station’s job to keep them listening.

Targeted partnerships

As a small independent radio station, we don’t really have much money to spend on marketing, but we do spend significant time on it. We mainly look to see how we can leverage our audience and our platforms to either generate content that will be shared or discovered or we strike partnerships with similarly targeted organisations to contra marketing opportunities.

These relationships have meant we’ve had adverts in lots of kids magazines (with circulations topping 200k), in-game promotion on virtual worlds like Bin Weevils (2m monthly users), live event activity on the South Bank and later this month at Lollibop, and last week a brilliant integration with DC Thomson’s The Beano.
Awareness and relevance

Dennis and Gnasher on air

We’ve had a good relationship with DC for a number of years which has resulted in a weekly radio show presented by their characters Dennis and Gnasher. We decided at the beginning of the year to supersize the show – making it two hours on both Saturdays and Sundays and expanding the characters so it features more of the people kids love from the magazine. At the same time we talked about how this show would be promoted by the magazine and The Beano’s website.

For The Beano the radio show is part of a real push this year to grow awareness and relevance of The Beano characters to new audiences. As well as the magazine there’s a new TV series that’s just started on CBBC, they’ve got a developed app strategy and there are digital versions of the magazine and associated websites. They’ve also significantly grown their licensing – putting Beano and Dennis branded items in many more places. All of this works together to help re-enforce their property.

Comic potential

For promotion, we expected some adverts in the magazine and online but DC were keen to expand that even further and feature a visit to the Fun Kids studio for all of the Beano gang. This has turned into a three-issue story arc, the first episode of which appeared last Wednesday.

Beano characters meet Sean from Fun KidsIt introduces Sean (a real life Fun Kids presenter) who appears on the radio show and creates the back-story for how and why Dennis will become a presenter on Fun Kids. This is all designed to teach Beano readers about the radio station and give them some reasons to tune in.

After the arc has finished there will be pages in the magazine each week that connect together the show, the magazine and the kids who have written in.

Excited as a child

Someone on Facebook asked me if this was merely an ‘advertorial’ in the magazine. I don’t think it particularly is. The storyline has been completely driven by the Beano guys and I hadn’t seen the final strip until I picked up a copy on Wednesday. I’m hopefully as excited as the kids to see what happens in the next part.

In a saturated media environment we all have to work harder to find new opportunities to engage with our audiences. To really work it has to stand out and that means both parties not just saying each other exists but coming with interesting ideas that excite audiences.

Matt Deegan is creative director of Folder Media, the radio and new media consultancy that helps people do things they wouldn’t normally do. His company owns the children’s radio station Fun Kids and his personal blog is at