KIDFEST `98 is a festival and marketplace for kids and parents that attracts more than 20,000 children and adults. There are four main stages featuring over 100 performances, and lots of activities, including midway rides, kids karaoke, a petting zoo, a climbing wall, storytelling by local celebrities, Microsoft computer stations, a FOX29 WFTC cartoon theater, pony rides, trout fishing, miniature golf and much more. KEEY-FM and Wal-Mart were the KIDFEST `98 headline sponsors, with FOX29 as the exclusive television partner. The event took place on February 14 and 15 at the St. Paul RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minnesota.
FOX29′s involvement included a cartoon theater promoting the FOX29 Kids Club program lineup. We also had booth space where station volunteers handed out Life with Louie yo-yos and coloring sheets, and Disney buttons and pencils featuring 101 Dalmatians, Mighty Ducks and Quack Pack. During the event, thousands of children signed up for the FOX29 Kids Club, the fourth largest Fox Kids Club in the United States.
One of the biggest KIDFEST `98 attractions was the Meet and Greet stage, where FOX29 provided three costumed characters for hugs, pictures and smiles for kids and parents alike. Kids were truly in awe of these huge, lovable characters! Bobby from Bobby’s World, Casper the Friendly Ghost and Little Louie from Life with Louie all made special appearances. TC, the Fox Kids Club mascot, also made the rounds, shaking hands with all the children.
Our main goals were higher awareness for our FOX29 Kids Club programming and new membership in our kids club. KIDFEST `98 was the perfect venue to target children from ages four to 14 years old. The idea was to draw new children to FOX29 Kids Club and to make sure current viewers continued to watch. The event was promoted in the Totally Fox Kids magazine, on FOX29′s Web page (www.fox29.com), and in a 30-second spot produced by FOX29.
In past years, KIDFEST has been extremely successful, so our expectations were fairly high. We anticipated a large turnout and plenty of publicity. What we did not expect was the coincidental tie-in with Campbell’s Soup and the huge response to Little Louie. Life with Louie is one of the most popular kids programs on FOX29, and it just so happened that Campbell’s Soup was at KIDFEST `98 promoting its new product, Life with Louie pasta. The connection between Louie the costumed character, the Life with Louie pasta, and the Louie yo-yos was fantastic and worked beautifully for FOX29. The event definitely had a positive impact on the children, the adults, and even our station volunteers. We were able to see firsthand the huge awareness and popularity of Life with Louie and were able to reinforce day, time and station information to key members of our audience. The volunteers pulled together to make sure things ran smoothly, even though at times, the crowd of children in front of our booth seemed overwhelming. The station volunteers also made sure our station was properly represented, and the event gave them time to get know each other on a personal level. Most importantly, KIDFEST `98 visitors left the FOX29 area with smiles on their faces and reminders of FOX29 in their goody bags!
Our goal was accomplished through thorough planning, effective advertising, dependable help and a little luck. Throw a little fun in the mix, and you’ve got the makings of a great promotion!
Amber Baird is the promotion assistant at FOX29, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.