SuperAwesome takes over advertising on UK’s biggest virtual world for kids

17 Apr 2014

Entrepreneur Dylan Collins

Irish digital media supremo Dylan Collins’ digital brand aimed at kids, SuperAwesome, has struck a deal with the UK’s largest virtual world for kids, Bin Weevils, that will see SuperAwesome take over Bin Weevils’ ads system and acquire its sales and ad operations teams.

Collins is one of Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs, embarking on his start-up career while at Trinity College Dublin with Phorest, which is still in business today, and games middleware firm Demonware, which is also still active. Activision acquired Demonware in 2007 for an estimated US$15m.

Superawesome delivers a box of digital and physical goodies into the hands of discerning 8-14-year-olds every two months.

Bin Weevils, the No 1 kids virtual world in the UK and winner of the ‘best kids website’ BAFTA over the last three years, has over 20m registered kids across the ages of 6-10. It is widely recognised as one of the top kids digital brands in Europe.

The move just comes months after SuperAwesome expanded into the US after acquiring MobiGirl Media, a mobile ad network for girls based in Los Angeles, for an undisclosed sum.

The partnership will see Bin Weevils transfer the management of their advertising business exclusively to SuperAwesome. As part of the transaction, SuperAwesome will also acquire Bin Weevils’ sales and ad operations teams.

The partnership puts the majority of the UK’s premium kids digital brands on the SuperAwesome platform which now extends to Bin Weevils, Swapit, Box of Awesome as well as over 70 content partners across mobile, web and online video.

“This is a major milestone for both companies,” Collins explained.

“We’ve been huge fans of Bin Weevils since we started the company and being able to work together means we can create safe, entertaining experiences for brands at a scale and with a level of integration never possible before.

“They’re a huge part of the digital kids landscape and as part of our network, we can build even more imaginative campaigns for kids to interact safely with brands,” Collins said.

Q&A with Dylan Collins

How would you sum up the size of the digital kids market in Europe and the US?

If you ask any of the major entertainment brands (movies, games, toys, books), they’d agree that strategically the market is  worth billions. For example, the under-16 market generates almost half of all online games revenue globally (approx $17B). Total marketing spend in the US and UK for this audience is approx $1B annually. Adding in TV spend takes it to about twice that number. 

With the explosion of smartphones, tablets and games consoles not to mention connected TVs, how easy is it to reach this market?

It’s incredibly difficult, in fact harder than it ever has been before. It’s simply not effective to communicate with the youth audience on a single channel any more. Brands need to be everywhere, on all of the platforms, all of the time. It’s a massive challenge, and specifically the pain that we solve for our clients. Our ecosystem has massive scale (over 30M uniques each month), reaches the places where kids engage (mobile, web, online video, physical discovery) and with properties under our control such as Bin Weevils, means that we can combine reach with engagement for utterly unique brand experiences.

Essentially, we’ve created a completely new marketing infrastructure for this generation of kids. And if you look at some of our clients (like Lego, Warner Bros, Disney and Hasbro) it’s proof of just how successful that strategy is.

What are your growth plans for the expanded business, taking into account your acquisition of MobiGirl in the US in recent months?

This audience-reach problem for kids brands is a global one so our opportunity is significant. I think we’ll probably triple our numbers this year across the board. The US is certainly an area we’re actively expanding in, both with our digital footprint but also our physical discovery channel. Because we’ve solved this issue for brands in one region, they’re very keen for us to expand to other territories as quickly as possible.

Do you have plans to target the Asian digital marketplace?

It’s a good question. For now we’re focused on the North American market but we’re looking at a few partnership opportunities that might give us some other expansion opportunities. 

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years