The Beano is the UK’s second oldest and best-selling weekly comic.
It has a circulation of around 200,000 and is aimed at a core readership
of seven- to ten-year-old boys.
The comic was launched in July 1938 and has been running continuously
ever since. Its well established characters include Dennis the Menace
and his dog Gnasher, Minnie the Minx, and the Bash Street Kids.
On 15 January this year the Beano published its celebratory 3,000th
It hired Vision PR to manage a campaign to promote the landmark
To boost the Beano’s sales figures, to promote the comic’s web site, and
to emphasise that it has moved with the times.
Strategy and Plan
In order to create high impact media coverage the PR team devised a
newsworthy publicity angle - the Beano 3,000 Celebrity Vote campaign. A
press release was sent out to print, on-line and broadcast media in late
November, to raise awareness of the forthcoming campaign.
Readers were invited to vote, using the comic’s website, for the
celebrities they thought most resembled characters from the Beano.
Approximately 4,000 responses were polled and the winning celebrities
were rendered in comic-book style to appear in the 3,000th issue.
Chris Evans was nominated to star alongside Dennis the Menace, while
Geri Halliwell beat EastEnders’ Patsy Palmer to feature with Minnie the
Minx. Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses was voted to be paired with
Roger the Dodger, despite facing stiff competition from Jeffrey Archer.
Other pairings included Linford Christie and Billy Whizz, and Brooklyn
Beckham and Dennis the Menace’s baby sister Bea.
On the day before the publication of the 3,000th issue, press releases
were issued to all the national newspapers, national and regional TV and
radio stations, and news agencies with the results of the survey and to
highlight that the characters could be seen in the 3,000th issue.
Measurement and Evaluation
Media exposure was extensive. National and regional newspapers ran
articles on the 3,000th issue itself, as did radio and satellite TV
stations. The majority of press coverage included visuals from the
Beano’s web site and from the comic.
The voters who responded to the campaign on the website were analysed
with regard to sex, age group and nationality. This showed that the
campaign reached its target audience, as the majority of voters were
between seven and ten-years-old, although ten per cent were between 25
The campaign’s media coverage acted as a reminder of the brand - the
campaign resulting in a sales boost of 27 per cent for the 3,000th
Of the 4,000 people who voted on the website 86 per cent were based in
the UK. Of these, 70 per cent were male. The campaign emphasised an
institutional brand’s shift with the times and its extension into new
Client: DC Thomson and Co
Campaign: Beano celebrates its 3,000th issue
PR Team: Vision PR
Timescale: November-December 1999