Robot 6

Are teasers big pleasers in comics marketing?

Although they’ve existed in comics — and other entertainment mediums — for years, it’s only recently that comics readers are seeing so many of them.

Teasers.

From last summer’s “I Am An Avenger” campaign rolling out the “Heroic Age” era members of the flagship team to DC’s recent Flashpoint teasers with simply a logo and some text. Image Comics has even taken part in this trend, with not-so-subtle jabs at it in the parody “I am A Guardian” with characters like Gary Popper, and the month-long string of teasers hyping the upcoming Butcher Baker series.

They’ve become a well-worn tool in every comic publisher’s marketing toolkit — and with good reason. A well-crafted teaser sparks the minds of the comic-buying public’s imagination, much in the same way as a good cliffhanger at the end of an issue would. And better yet, they don’t really have to spend anything to circulate these promos; comic websites large and small, including ours, snap them up and readers seem to follow suit. You could call them advertisements, but “advertisement” means a paid announcement, and these are more like flyers solicited through the comics sites.

But why are they so popular? We asked the experts — the people that are using them — to find out.

“Teaser images are such a popular marketing tactic with us because it’s a fun way for us to show fans what might be coming up and inspire them to speculate, hypothesize and sometimes even rake us over the coals regarding what they think is coming up,” says Mike Pascuillo, senior vice president of brand planning & communications at Marvel. ” It seems people love spoilers, so this is a way to show part of our hand and get people excited without truly revealing the whole truth.”

Although neither DC Comics nor Image Comics accepted an invitation to comment on this topic, veteran publicist Alex Segura, who is currently Archie’s executive director of publicity & marketing, had a lot to say.

“Teaser images are definitely a tool for comic book PR and marketing, and have worked well for years. You also see them across media, in TV, movies, video games, etc. But like previews, cover reveals and creative changes, they’ve become a part of the comic book promo rotation, whereas maybe 3-4 years ago, they were novel,” said Segura, who previously worked as a publicist for DC. “Which isn’t to say they’re not useful — they worked for Blackest Night, Marvel’s Avengers relaunch and beyond. We’ve used them recently at Archie, most recently with our ‘Justin Beaver’ and American Idol/Simon Cowell images. I think two factors are key – timing and content. If the teaser is just a logo or stylized text, it’d better say something that gets people talking. Fans are smart, and they want to think about the teaser beyond just the title of the book. They also want to be left wondering what’s coming up after the teaser.

“As a publisher, you want to ask yourself — does this get people excited? Will it piss off more people than it motivates to talk about the book? Is there a payoff or are we teasing something that doesn’t merit this level of promotion? All of that has to go into your decision,” Segura explains. “But by and large, teaser images are a great primer and basically help remind fans that something big (hopefully) is coming their way soon. In that regard, they work most of the time.”

In a recent interview with Heidi MacDonald at the Beat, Joe Casey was asked about the marathon teaser campaign Image released in November 2010 for his upcoming title Butcher Baker. As is Casey’s tendency to speak frank and openly (which is catnip to interviewers), he was pretty frank on the idea of teasers and his expectations of results from the month-long campaign.

“Jeezus, I have no idea how you could measure it. Who knows if it’ll move the needle at all? But that’s not really the point. If anyone paid any attention at all – be it positive or negative – then I guess it was as effective as I could’ve hoped it would be,” Casey explains. “I’ve said this before; I looked at this teaser campaign more as some kind of weird performance art than anything else. Any actual awareness or promotion that comes out of it is a bonus.”

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Comments

15 Comments

yeah teasers are fine but comics are late. if anything the internet is the medium to be doing this. – henry . bulletTheSky.com

The “shape of the universe” has something hanging between her legs.

Butcher Baker went overboard with the teasers, to the point where when it was finally revealed I just said “oh. ok then”

Weeklong Fear Itself teasers are AT MOST what should be done, I would much rather you have 2-3 if you really need to do it. The DC Universe teasers that Phil Jiminez did where there were hints about future things like Ollie and Dinah’s marriage and the Death of the New Gods were nice but were ruined by how terrible Countdown was.

It also doesn’t help matters when the teaser is changed in order to hide things from comic fans being diligent in finding out the answer. Remember the terrible OMD teaser Brady Bunch boxes that had no one on it dealing with Peter Parker in the actual comic, or the Secret Avengers reveals where they erased certain details from silhouettes to make the character less obvious?

Right, like Ken B. said. It’s just cheap to alter the silhouette. That’s not even a “tease” at that point, it’s a red herring.

Those Butcher Baker teasers were annoying as hell. It was almost like a parody of teasers. Maybe it was?

I do like teasers, especially the Secret Avengers ones. Those had to be the best of the lot thus far and really sparked a lot of conversation. Some of the stuff Image has done, too, with Kirkman and Spencer’s books has worked for me as well.

The Butcher Baker teasers: you know what I loved about those? That I didn’t see them daily on CBR! They seemed to be on at least two other sites I visit and it just got annoying, to the point where I decided not to pick up the series when it’s out. I honestly don’t know why any site would want to run that many teasers for a single book.

Brandon: Casey has said they actually weren’t a parody or his response to teasers, which makes them all the much more bizarre.

Here’s the thing, though – despite our protestations, Butcher Baker is being talked about here. Any publicity is good publicity?

Like Kal-El said, is the shape of the universe a shemale?

They’re really no cooler to me than the solicitation images, which I DO look forward to every month.

But hey, I’m a “wait for the tpb/hc” guy and these ads are definitely more geared toward the floppies/singles crowd. And bless you for supporting the direct market, but I don’t know how y’all are continuing to do this at $3.99 a pop…

What I really like is when somebody puts teaser PAGES into an existing coming. This seems to be a Geoff Johns staple, at the end of Flash or Booster Gold #1. Makes me feel like I have a piece of the upcoming story in front of me.

Here are my personal ratings for different teasers (from 1 to 10):
- Avengers (all teams)- 9
- Butcher Baker- 5.5 (Everybody must have been thinking “WTF is that supposed to mean?”)
- Fear Itself- 8
- Flashpoint- 7.5
- Guarding the Globe (real and fake members) – 6 (How about some original design and format?)

Well, I’m just glad Marvel is running its own Sinestro Corp epic soon, what with those obvious “FEAR” teasers splattered inside all their pages.

“- Guarding the Globe (real and fake members) – 6 (How about some original design and format?)”

It was a parody. That was part of the joke.

Morning Glories was pretty effective with their teasers. Some people complained about all the teasers but I think it really helped making people aware of a the book. And it’s a really good book that the creators believe in so it’s not like it’s empty hype.

I love the Butcher Baker ads myself (I mean you’re getting gorgeous Mike Huddleston art and an indication that at least two issues of material is finished well before the book has been solicited). I think the fact they pissed people off is a good thing. At least people are aware of the book now.

I love teasers. Even going so far back as the 80s to stuff like ‘Fall of the Mutants’ and ‘Acts of Vengeance’. Images like those got me reading many more books than I probably would have growing up. I think its very cool to distill a story down to a single image without giving the story away and pique a reader’s interest and imagination.

Any guesses to the “first” teaser ad? I’d say it was either DC’s teasing of the Kirby books (The great one is coming!)
http://comingsuperattractions.blogspot.com/2008_05_01_archive.html

or the teases for the “new Superman of 1971″ ads:

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/1968newsuperman.jpg

Brian from Canada

February 4, 2011 at 7:57 am

The key point about teasers is to use them sparingly and effectively. I think what makes the Marvel ones of late so successful is that they work as posters — and you need to guess what the really cool image represents. Add to that Marvel’s experiments in film-like teasers and I think you’ve got a strong idea in the industry of how to advertise a story without blowing it; now they just have to put it in the right places to get people to read it.

(Though, personally, I think Marvel REALLLY blew it with Fantastic Four; could you imagine plugging the death issue in a Superbowl ad? How many people would visit their LCS then?)

Seems redundant, lets talk about the comics they were teasing and if they lived up to the hype. Im all for comic companies finding as many ways as possible to hype and advertise their shit.

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