Redan Publishing’s joint MD Julie Jones tells Rhys Troake why print media is an educational alternative to TV and other screen-time activities and has the potential to create a genuine buzz about desirable new toys.

Redan on why toy firms shouldn’t ignore print media

What can children’s print as a medium offer toy firms?

Magazine advertising compliments any marketing programme as the environment of the magazine lends credibility and longevity to the campaign, strengthening its impact.

Buying a magazine involves an active choice from parent and child. Children love the characters and see them as their friends and parents perceive magazines as an educational and positive alternative to TV and other screen-time activities.

Done properly, print offers the opportunity to interact with your audience by inviting children to take part in activities on the page and spend some time thinking creatively about the product.

Have you seen the medium change over the past year?

The main changes we are seeing are the blurring of lines between online and print media. We now have social media accounts and websites for many of our titles, so advertisers are getting much more for their money these days.

Everything we do in print we can replicate and enhance online in one form or another.

We find in particular that certain product giveaways can really take off if they are shared online and picked up by competition forums – it’s a real bonus when trying to get product in front of parents.

What opportunities does Redan offer toy companies?

We have the entire standard advertising options, such as full-page ads and inserts, but we also offer advertisers the chance to design posters, perforated activities and even to sponsor whole workbooks.

We can use digital scanning technology like QR codes to link through to online content, whether that is trailers, sizzlers or games. Also, all our bagged issues provide a really easy and cost effective way to sample product or inserts.

We are really happy to talk to any innovative would-be advertisers who like to think outside of the box. Online crossovers, voucher codes, product sampling, reviews and competitions are all excellent ways to gain coverage and generate a buzz around a new product line or brand.

What toy companies have you worked with in the last year and how did you shape the campaigns?

We’ve been working with Norton & Co and Jakks Pacific to put together some really lovely advertorials in Sparkle World for their Disney doll ranges. The pages are designed by our editors so that the toys blend seamlessly with the Disney worlds they inhabit and the readers can really spend time on the page interacting with the product. 

We’ve run a similar campaign for Pinypon across Fun to Learn magazines as well as Sparkle World, blending a full page advert with an activity competition to create bespoke double page spreads that have delighted us by proving very popular with readers.

Finally, our online Mega Comp in Sparkle World always manages to receive great online attention and lots of regular coverage in the magazine. 

What can print offer toy firms that mediums like radio and TV cannot?

Editorial endorsement and the opportunity to capture the child’s imagination and to engage them in spending some time interacting with the product on the page.

Radio and TV ads are generally either talked over or fast forwarded through, but if you have an interesting activity or advertorial slant to your print advertising, children will take time to get involved.

In a nutshell, what would you say to toy firms considering working with print?

Given the right design treatment, print adverts can capture a child’s imagination and become an invaluable way to recruit readers as brand ambassadors and create a genuine buzz about desirable new toys.

They can point to online campaigns and help to re-enforce TV advertising by going beyond the basic sell. 

Ads can also help to take a toy brand from product to IP, by helping to build a back story and by association with more highly recognised children’s characters.

They are also relatively cheap by comparison. When you are planning your advertising budgets, you are missing out on some really innovative marketing if you don’t consider booking some print opportunities into your schedules.

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