An easy to access medium able to reach children across the nation, radio is a platform that toy firms can reap benefits from at a lower cost. Joe Friel of Fun Kids, the UK’s only broadcast children’s radio station, tells Rhys Troake how radio can help toy firms and brands conquer the air waves.

Fun Kids tells us how radio can help toy firms conquer the airwaves

What can radio as a medium offer toy firms?

Radio has far fewer competing brands than other media platforms. In fact, Fun Kids is the UK’s only broadcast children’s radio station. This means that toy firms who use Fun Kids as part of their advertising mix can really cut through.

Radio is also incredibly cost-effective, with rates often cheaper than an equivalent web campaign.

Have you seen it change over the last year? ?
Our weekly audience has grown over a third, to 389,000 listening every week and we have developed partnerships across print, digital and events pushing Fun Kids to our audience on more platforms than ever before.

We’ve also had more and more advertising campaigns come from toy companies than ever before.

How accessible is digital radio to kids?
Hugely. Radio is really adaptive and new technology has just extended the way we can communicate with our audience.

A great example of this is our partnership with virtual world, Bin Weevils. Last year we launched an exclusive Bin Weevils radio show and they took Fun Kids radio into the virtual world where children can visit a radio studio and collect a radio item for their virtual home. Providing a whole new way for children to listen to the station and giving them content they really care about.

Have you seen toy companies embrace radio the last few years?
Definitely. Fun Kids itself is still a relatively new radio brand, but three years ago we finally started breaking through with toy firms and since then, the level of investment from the sector has continued to grow.

Due to the complete lack of content for kids on radio before Fun Kids, and the focus on visual, radio was understandable quickly dismissed from toy briefs.

What opportunities does Fun Kids have for toy firms?
Sponsorship of shows or features within them, or of key family times of the year (such as half terms) provide a great way to absolutely make toys front of mind and we can create a wide range of on air creatives to promote individual toys, as well the brands as a whole.

On air advertorials are also popular with toy firms since, for no extra cost, we use our audio expertise to create bespoke advertorials for their products ensuring we really engage our audience and spark children’s imagination around their toys.

What toy companies have you worked with this year?
This year we ran a great campaign with LEGO Friends for its new Popstars range. This was a truly 360 campaign. It became our breakfast sponsor, with on air creatives promoting each of the individual products in the range.

What can radio offer toy firms that mediums like TV and online cannot?
Strong dual listening opportunities. Our audience research shows that we’re not as much of a child-sitting service that you might see for other child brands. Our listening is often a shared family experience, from in-car listening to having it on while doing homework.

Radio is also able to turnaround campaigns much faster than most other media. Live presenters mean new messages can be delivered on air within hours, and producing or altering features and adverts is naturally quicker than for the likes of TV.

What would you say to firms thinking of working with radio?
I would tell them to listen to Fun Kids. As soon as you hear what children’s radio sounds like, you will immediately see the opportunities it offers for your brand.

Also, don’t think of working with radio as just radio. Our audience moves between platforms seamlessly and we have met this challenge head on, bringing Fun Kids to them through radio sets, websites, virtual worlds, mobile apps, video and live events. This means a whole range of ways that toy firms can interact with children and parents.

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