Would comic books benefit from mainstream advertising?

Discussion in 'Misc. Comics' started by Spoarz™, Apr 9, 2006.

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Would comic books benefit from mainstream advertising?

  1. Yes, comic books would benefit greatly.

  2. A slight improvement, though nothing drastic.

  3. No, mainstream advertising will not help the sales of comic books.

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  1. Spoarz™ Auteur Extraordinaire

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    For my final major project at University, I have been researching in to comic books, and how such a medium suffers from a distinct lack of mainstream promotion and advertising, especially when compared to a medium so vastly promoted such as that of television or magazine publications.

    Why is this the case with comic books? There is a strong demand for comic books, particularly with adult audiences. Greater mainstream promotion would mean reaching a much wider audience and could potentially cause a growth in comic book sales.

    The immense promotion of comic book film adaptations in recent years have helped to promote comic books and graphic novels such as Spider-man, Fantastic Four and Sin City. This is because the films advertise to a wide audience and create demand for the comics, as well as other merchandise.

    Would comic books benefit from greater mainstream advertising of their own? Please vote and say what you think of the situation.
     
  2. cerealkiller182 Must Get Deadpool Avatar

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    I voted yes, because it couldnt hurt I suppose, but i dont think the general public cares about comic books. There is a stigma that those who read them are geeks.
     
  3. captain_jimbo I love Star Trek XI

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    I'd say there'd be quite a big improvement.
     
  4. Darthphere Kneel before 'Drox!

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    Ive been wondering why Marvel doesnt send Stan lee or someone on Jay Leno or something. Maybe DC can send Dan Didio.
     
  5. Elijya Registered

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    Stan Lee is more of a novelty act these days. God knows I appreciate the man, but he isn't/shouldn't be the industry spokesman anymore.

    What I'd like to see is somebody - and I think Joe Quesada is the main for the job. Regardless of what you think or some of his editorial policies, he is charismatic and well-spoken - to go on preferably Larry King Live or the Today Show, or the more likely possibilities of The Daily Show, the Tonight Show, or Conan, and just talk about the industry. Don't even be preferential to Marvel, pimp everybody's books. Explain to people how they're not just for kids anymore, etc. Make the case, and just ask people to find their local comicbook store, go in one day, and just talk to whoever's working there and see if they can find something for you. Give it a try, that's all we ask. Buy one book. You may be pleasently surprised.
     
  6. XwolverineX Registered

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    I am pretty sure they would benefit. So I voted yes.
     
  7. Xofenroht The Mad Moreno

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    I don't think they'd benefit in the long run. Most of the mainstream attention they get is from movies, cartoons, and video games. Even so, those are only the ones deemed "worthy" enough to be introduced to the public at large. Ok, well, if you're talking about financially, then mainstream advertising would be great if done correctly.
    At the risk of sounding single minded (some people will know what I mean after I say what I'm about to say) I think Neil Gaiman would be better than Joe Quesada. I say this because he shows people the degree of talent and intellect put into comics and also because he has charisma. This is not to suggest that Quesada is a simpleton, I just think it should be someone like Neil who has worked with many of the comic book companies and focused on more than one genre within the medium. Besides, he has more credibility/
     
  8. LexCorp Lex Luthor

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    geek.........
     
  9. Spoarz™ Auteur Extraordinaire

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    My final major project is consisting of an advertising campaign (as I'm studying Advertising & Media) and I definitely want to emphasise on the adult nature of some of the comic books that are available, such as The Punisher, and that they are not just for children. :up:
     
  10. Elijya Registered

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    I think Punisher would be a terrible example. Punisher shows people that comics aren't just for kids, but for all the wrong reasons. Anybody in the general public who sees the Punisher is just going to see a psychopath, a male fantasy of blowing everything away with a gun (and I know there can be depth to some Punisher storylines, but this is how the genral public will take it). You don't show people Robocop to get them to understand Cinema, you show them films by Orsen Welles, Alfred Hitcock, or Stanley Kubrick, ya know?

    If you want to appeal comics to a mainstream adult audience, I think the best titles that should be focused on are books like Y-The Last Man, Ex Machina, Love and Rockets, Strangers in Paradise, 100 Bullets, Blankets, Maus, Box Office Poison, Road to Perdition, Lone Wolf and Cub, or Sandman (preferably Brief Lives).

    Take a look at the TV listings. What are most shows like? They're cop shows or lawyer dramas, or cheeky sitcoms. Reality contests, or shows where real people talk about real world stuff. "Fantasy" elements are seen as immature in the mainstream. Sure, every once in awhile you get a Star Trek or a Firefly, but those are rare, and both off the air. The only recent successes in the Fantasy Genre I can think of shows like Hercules and Xena (which have been off for several years) or Buffy and Angel. There's Smallville, but again, that's Superman tempered to have less fantasy elements to him, there's no suit, he doesn't fly, the villains aren't as crazy as in the book, etc.. Even cartoons like Family Guy, the Simpons and South Park are set in a somewhat realistic world. Notice they all take place in the suburbs, and frequently address real world issues or pop culture?

    So comics with fantasy elements or power fantasies (which is what superhero books are), it is difficult to get lasting mass appeal out of because fantasy is viewed as immature (that's a fact that is up for debate, but it is undeniably a public perception). So if you want to appeal the medium of comics to the masses, you should do it through the vehicle of genres they're already fans of, things like Crime, Drama and Romance.

    The only books I mentioned with elements of fantasy are Ex Machina, which stars a New York City Mayor who is a retired superhero, but the fantasy elements are kept on a more James Bond like level, and the book has a greater focus on politics and social issues, and Sandman, which nothing really should need to be said about. Those are the books you will get discerning adults reading comics through.
     
  11. The Hero Registered

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    What about Dan Slott?He's Joe Quesada with Fox attitude!

    I don't know what that means either.:o
     
  12. Elijya Registered

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    Dan doesn't have enough acclaim within the comics industry itself yet for him to be a spokesperson for it to the rest of the world. He's only written miniseries, kids books, and his two ongoings aren't exactly Marvel's best sellers.
     
  13. Spoarz™ Auteur Extraordinaire

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    I was considering advertising the comic books created by Marvel, instead of comic books in general, so which of their characters do you think would be best suited for such a campaign?
     
  14. Elijya Registered

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    (um, so then why didn't you make this thread in the Marvel Forum? :confused:)
     
  15. TheFalcon Registered

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    I think comics would definitly benefit some, but I think the main reason for the lack of sales is because comics aren't easily available in supermarkets etc.

    There's also a problem of how you would do it. Is there going to be one for each comic and a new one every month or just generic character commercials? It's also difficult to make good advertisements for tv with flat 2D drawings.
     
  16. Elijya Registered

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    I've seen them coming back in some places. If nothing else, every single Borders has a spinner rack of comics in their magazines section. But just them being their isn't gonna get people to pick em up.

    It's also a question of who're we targeting with the ads: kids, or adults?
     
  17. Darthphere Kneel before 'Drox!

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    I think most of the focus should be on teens on up. Its a lot harder for an 8 year old to convince dad to give him $3 for a comic book than it is for a teenager stealing $20 from moms purse.:D
     
  18. Spoarz™ Auteur Extraordinaire

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    I only came to this conclusion from my research recently. :D Plus my lecturer recommended that I advertise a single company's comics now instead of the whole medium. My apologies, it won't happen again. :)
     
  19. Elijya Registered

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    well, it's still a good debate just beyond your need to write a paper on it, and thus needing to narrow scope.

    one thing I haven't really seen addressed that you might want to bring up: you state "There is a strong demand for comic books, particularly with adult audiences."

    No, there isn't, unfortunately. The top selling comics currently have circulations around 100-150,000 copies (ignoring titles who have inflated circulations due to alternative covers and people buying extra "investment"copies :-)rolleyes:) which can inflate circulation numbers up to 2-300,000) Now, that's in direct distribution to comicbook stores. Add in subscriptions and newstands, you get maybe 150-200,000. Now factor in people who read comics periodicly, or maybe in trade form, or maybe they only read independent titles, or Manga readers, etc, you end up with an estimate of perhaps 500,000 potential comic readers within the United States. This includes kids. These are not high numbers, so I would hardly say comics have "a strong demand".

    The principal problem is that comics do still have a stigma attched to them, and despite the very cliched sentiment "comics aren't just for kids anymore", the massage still hasn't gotten through to the masses.
     
  20. Darthphere Kneel before 'Drox!

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    Very true, and I need a massage.


    Anyway, the thing is I can get a 50 year old guy like my dad to read comics, but its a lot harder for me to get a 20 yera old friend of mine to do it. Mostly the only comics ive been able to peddle on people my age are books that just had movies out. For example, I never saw my Sin City books when the movie came out because everyone wanted to borrow them the same with V for Vendetta. Its not an age specific thing at all.
     
  21. Spoarz™ Auteur Extraordinaire

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    That is why I hope an advertising campaign would gain greater interest in such a medium.
     
  22. Elijya Registered

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    But what would an advertising campaign accomplish that the movie adaptations haven't? I think it'd just draw in a bunch of "weekend warriors" who'd gain interest long enough to pick up one book, which would probably be the wrong one for them, and then they don't stay around.
     
  23. Spoarz™ Auteur Extraordinaire

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    I believe the movie adaptations create only a subsidiary amount of promotion for the comic books, with the main focus being the film. I would hope that such an advertising campaign would promote the comic books whole heartedly. And who knows, the campaign may draw in some 'weekend warriors', but it could also draw in consumers that could become loyal readers. They may like what they see and come back for more.
     
  24. drastic_quench Registered

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    Man, 500,000 is not a lot of people. That's a little depressing.

    I think the real advertisements for comics are the movies and cartoons. They create a familiarity with a character/group and make a casual movie goer or cartoon fan a little more likely to buy a comic.

    This system could be better executed - but I think the problem lies in the disconnect between the continuities. A casual Batman Begins fan can pick up the movie graphic novel, but might be intimidated or turned off at the concept of a monthly Bat-book that's couldn't be more dissimilar to what he saw in Begins. That isn't to say that I'd want crossover continuity where things that happened in toon and movies were comics' canon - it's just an issue I see.
     
  25. UK_Stu Registered

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    Ok, I'm an advertising executive for a design agency in the UK, and I think you would real problems effectively advertising comic books ,particularly in the UK.

    In principle, the mechanisms for the adverts are straightforward, but I think you will have problems correctly identifying a target audience and then setting a realistic call-to-action from the advertising.

    A mass advertsiing campaign would attract very short-term interest, but would not do anything for comic purchasing. Any advertising would need further marketing push - such as direct mail, PR and definitely some merchandising.

    Advertising as a medium, is not a particularly powerful sales tool. At its best it can create awareness and reinforce brand recognition, but it won't create demand - this is the problem with comics

    So my answer to the question is: probably not just with mainstream advertising - but yes with a full strategic marketing campaign

    For me, to make Comics 'cool', they need to be seen endorsed that way. There are many celebrities who are comic readers/collectors - their endorsement would go a long way to making comics seem cool.
     

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