Aftenposten Junior is the only newspaper for children in Norway and has had solid coverage within the target group since its first publication in 2012. But increasing competition from digital media has made it more difficult to engage readers and maintain a high readership.
In 2022, we were determined to celebrate Aftenposten Junior’s 10-year anniversary in a way that would boost brand awareness, engagement, and sales. We chose to create our own universe in Minecraft and invite children to a birthday party unlike any other. As a result, we engaged 1,708 children and sold 1,623 subscriptions.
Defining our objectives
The anniversary event had three objectives: Engage readers, increase brand awareness, and contribute to sales. To engage our readers, we had to be relevant, so we chose to host our event on their turf — inside a game called Minecraft.
Minecraft is one of the most popular games for children in our target group and is often used for educational purposes and after-school activities. Hosting a gaming event was uncharted territory for us, so we partnered with Skogliv, the largest Minecraft community in Norway. Together we planned and designed activities and attractions for an Aftenposten Junior universe within Minecraft. We also rented a studio where we could live stream a broadcast with Afteponsten Junior’s editor and journalists on the day of our event.
We wanted to include our readers in the preparations. We mobilised them through weekly assignments in the newspaper, asking them to build assets for the Aftenposten Junior universe. On our open server, we collaborated with our readers, building excitement and expectations for the big day. The children’s creations were showcased digitally and in print as we received them. At the same time, we marketed the event externally.
We emphasised that it was free and open to anyone who wanted to join. The objective of the campaign was to recruit guests as well as gain public interest. This way, we could use the newfound awareness to sell subscriptions through a sales campaign launched the day after our event.
During the five weeks leading up to the event, our readers built 1,000 creations for our Minecraft universe. We received pictures of their creations by e-mail, and they used our server to chat and socialise with each other. We saw a new level of engagement rooted in this new way of interacting with our audience.
The event itself was closely connected to our brand. We made sure to include our most popular content in our digital universe and thereby intertwined our brand with an environment children love.
It worked. We managed to bridge the newspaper and the game, gaining results above our expectations: The event engaged 1,708 unique users in Minecraft, and our live stream was sent to 1,000 IP addresses. The children wrote 14,075 chat messages during our event, including questions, quiz replies, and expressions of pure excitement about the events of the game.
Overall, it clearly showed that our audience was involved and excited.
The sales campaign launched the following day sold 1,623 subscriptions, a 57% increase in sales compared to a similar campaign during the same period in 2021. This is a result of the momentum built from the event.
In summary, we hosted an event that engaged our readers in new ways, was coherent with our brand, and resulted in boosted brand awareness and a successful sales campaign. We were definitely inspired by this project — we hope it made you smile as well!