Charles Atlas can make you a man! Sea Monkeys live, work and play in an undersea kingdom. Scare your friends with a life-sized Frankenstein Monster or get your own set of 100 army men for only a buck. In the past, comic book advertising was a lot like a circus sideshow. Lots of hype, lots of promise, but mostly a scam. These days, comic book advertising is the realm of the entertainment companies as they use the latest releases to hawk new movies, video games and music but still comic books themselves are pretty old school.
What’s new school, are digital comics that allow the user to flip through the pages on a website, tablet or smartphone and don’t think it’s just the men who are willing to buy. In a recent article at ClickZ, Jeff Webber, head of ePublishing at IDW, noted that the audience for their big seller True Blood, is 30-50 year old women. Wildstorm publishes comics based on the CW series Supernatural, which also has a predominately female audience. All of this is good news because it’s been shown that women are the leader when it comes to online sales, so connecting with that audience is a good thing.
What digital comics offer that you can’t get with the paper variety is a chance to hook the consumer directly to additional products and information online. A Batman comic can lead you to Batman The Animated Series on iTunes. The Supernatural comic can connect you to the show’s forum on the network website. A pre-release comic for a new movie can lead to Fandango where you can buy tickets.
Right now, most of the advertising related to digital comics is entertainment related but it doesn’t have to be. Like the old fashioned kind, comics can be used to sell anything from cereal to digital sea monkeys. Advertisers and publishers need to start thinking outside of the box in order to make a good fit. The latest energy drink might sponsor a free issue of a Superman comic or imagine if The Red Cross took over one month of True Blood in order to promote a blood drive? Since digital comics can be downloaded to a phone, why not attach a coupon on the back page for a free small drink at a fast food restaurant? Like comic books themselves, the possibilities are limited only by a lack of imagination.
Need some inspiration? Check out TomHeroes.com for a treasure trove of classic comic book ads.
Do you have a favorite classic comic book ad? Tell us about it.