brand experiences


What We Did:

Mason Williams Communications devised a captivating, stand out special event to promote In the Night Garden (ITNG) to key parenting press and consumer media journalists. Our creative approach was to recreate the Ninky Nonk train experience by hiring a heritage steam train and Hampshire parkland and turn it in to an In The Night Garden day out.

Why We Did This:

We initially worked on the launch of In the Night Garden with our client and head licensee Hasbro, the BBC and programme creators Ragdoll in 2007. Coverage from the launch onwards had been high impact, delivering column inches and online buzz for the brand amongst press, parents and bloggers alike. At the start of 2009 however, it was agreed the brand had reached a pivotal point between becoming an evergreen brand or a declining license. The success of previous years meant the challenge was to keep the media interested in the brand and to demonstrate the new and exciting toy range. Therefore, our special event needed to: keep In the Night Garden front of mind, support new Autumn/Winter toy lines and support another licensee, Penguin (books).

All Aboard the Ninky Nonk – The Event Concept:

Working with the BBC, Ragdoll and Penguin, Mason Williams devised and created an In the Night Garden VIP day during the summer holidays for key media, buyers, competition winners and their children. The event included:

  • A trip on the ‘Ninky Nonk’ (a heritage steam train we sourced, dressed and branded)
  • Meet and greet with top CBeebies presenter Justin Fletcher
  • Picnic, games and In the Night Garden story telling

The Challenges:

We needed to create an event with enough appeal that would entice the London-centric media out of the city and to engage with a brand they were already very familiar with. The logistics were also incredibly complex taking into account transportation from London, it being an outside event, subject to the elements not to mention the health and safety implications of an event of this scale.

How We Did It:

We transported 68 guests from central London to Alton, Hampshire via luxury coaches. All coaches were branded and had ITNG magazines, audio books and dress up kits to ensure the experience started as soon as they took their seats!

Once arrived at Alton, Hampshire, an additional 77 press, guests and competition winners joined the group. It was then that all 145 guests were greeted by Justin Fletcher from CBeebies and officially welcomed aboard the Ninky Nonk – which had been transformed with branded headboard and window vinyls.Once on the train the children and guests were treated to ITNG toys, games and activity sheets.

The journey ended at Ropely Train Station where Mason Williams had arranged for the picnic area to be transformed in to “The Night Garden” to keep the magic going.

A marquee was home to the famous story-telling gazebo from the programme and play areas were set up to showcase the latest products from Hasbro.Face painting, games, singing and storytelling were hosted by the Mason Williams team, our event partners (Rainbow) and Justin from CBeebies.

After the picnic party, everyone was returned to London by coach with goodie bags for kids and press packs for the media.

Key Messages:

In 2009 the brief and our objectives were very clear – In The Night Garden had to achieve evergreen status. We had to create awareness and buzz for the new A/W toy range to ensure it would be high on Christmas round up lists. Our event needed to deliver these key messages by:

  • Exciting the media
  • Engaging mum and kid as brand ambassadors
  • Generating noise and buzz online & in print
  • Capturing the imagination of Hasbro and their partners, the BBC and Ragdoll


“Thank you – we had a lovely day! Joe fell asleep on the tube and was getting lots of curious looks in his Igglepiggle outfit and we’ve been watching In the Night Garden ever since we got home (which is better than Power Rangers!).” Catherine O’Dolan, Junior Magazine

“Thank you for a fun day out. The pics look great. My boy Edison really enjoyed himself – and won’t put down his Igglepiggle!” Paul Rhodes, Daily Express“

Just a note to say thank you for the great day out we had yesterday at Ropley. Our little boy loved it and so did we! The train ride was amazing and so was the ITNG marquee and stories. All the staff were great and really welcoming which made the day all the more enjoyable.” Sarah Thomas, Sun Online Winner

“Thanks for all your organisation to make it such a fantastic event” Hermione Lawton, Penguin Books

The Results

  • The branded train remained in place for the duration of the summer holidays as part of the sponsorship deal negotiated by Mason Williams. The train operators reported a 40% increase in revenue as a result of our publicity
  • This special event was attended by 20 journalists from titles including Junior Magazine, Mother & Baby Magazine, Bounty Magazine, The Independent, The Sun, Daily Express, The Times, Parenting Without Tears, RaisingKids and Mumsnet
  • Seven competitions ran ahead of the event to generate awareness, secure coverage for the Hasbro range and to give us competition winners to attend the event itself – coverage included The Sun Online, AskAMum, Parenting & Pregnancy, Mode for Mums, Parenting Without Tears, Tots2Teens, SuperNanny & ChopsyBaby
  • A press release announcing to the public the opportunity to ride the Ninky Nonk was also issued, coverage included Southern Daily Echo, Petersfield Post and
  • Photography and a post event release was also issued, coverage secured, included Alton Post Gazette (front page!), Southern Daily Echo, AskAMum and Delta Radio
  • Online buzz was also generated via parents uploading their pictures and comments to our event’s FLIKR group as well as blogs and tweets about the event also being posted
  • Christmas coverage was also generated for the new toy range as a result of the event. New products from the In the Night Garden range were reviewed and featured throughout October, November and December in Junior, Mother & Baby, Prima Baby, Practical Parenting, Parenting Without Tears, Lovedby parents, RaisingKids, Daily Express, The Independent, That’s Life, MadeforMums and Bounty
  • The total campaign had a reach of 56,395,468 and generated an EAV of £379,903 delivering our client an ROI of 14:1.

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