Search for titles on Comichron!
Custom Search

More than 192,500 comic book and graphic novel circulation figures online!
Welcome to Comichron, a resource for comic book circulation data and other information gathered by
John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Toys, comics, and irony: Hasbro's TV network

The news today that Hasbro and Discovery Networks are teaming to create a new network to showcase Hasbro properties recalled an earlier connection with comics — famously, Hasbro's role in creating what was likely the most expensive advertising campaign for individual comic books, ever.

In 1999's Toy Wars: The Epic Struggle Between G.I. Joe, Barbie, and the Companies that Make Them, G. Wayne Miller wrote of how Hasbro, contending with children's television rules prohibiting the use of animation in toy ads, came up with a novel idea — one that affected comics quite a bit. The idea in the prohibition seems to have been fears that kids would think the toys in the commercials actually flew or did whatever they did in the animations — so you'd only ever see kids playing with the real toys.

But with Hasbro licensing the syndicated G.I. Joe cartoon — and Marvel producing the G.I. Joe comics series since 1982 — Miller wrote that Hasbro hit on the idea of asking Marvel to advertise comic books on TV. Animated ads for comics were unheard of — and prohibitively expensive — but according to Miller, Hasbro put up several million dollars in the effort. Marvel, the happy recipient, ran several ads for individual Joe issues — and saw the series go from a cellar dweller in sales — 157,920 copies monthly in 1983 — to one of its strongest titles in 1986, averaging 331,475 copies monthly according to postal statements. The cartoon was a big part, of course, but the ads definitely played a role in helping the comics.

Now, in the cable era, toymakers get entire networks. What'll it take for a comics publisher to get one? Looking at what happened to Joe's sales, it might be a good move!
- - -


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Next Previous Home

Copyright © John Jackson Miller. Original template design by Free Website Templates. Privacy policy.

Comichron is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

Images used for identification are © their respective owners.