Robot 6

Marvel launching radio campaign to promote Marvel NOW!

Uncanny Avengers #1

Following DC Comics’ television campaigns for the New 52, Before Watchmen and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Marvel announced this morning that it will take to the radio to promote its Marvel NOW! initiative.

Commercials spotlighting such titles as Uncanny Avengers, Deadpool, Fantastic Four, All-New X-Men, Indestructible Hulk, Thor: God of Thunder, Captain America will air nationwide on radio shows like Fox Sports, Jim Rome, Nikki Sixx, Petros & Money and Opie & Anthony.

“We’re excited to bring Marvel NOW! to millions of new readers nationwide through advertising during the biggest radio programs,” David Gabriel, Marvel’s senior vice president of sales, said in a statement.  “We’re spending more money on comic book marketing than ever in Marvel’s history to make sure that, in addition to publicity with major media outlets and top comic sites, there’s a strong mass consumer awareness of all our great new launches, from Uncanny Avengers to All New X-Men to Superior Spider-Man.”

On the plus side, radio ads are comparatively inexpensive and require little time to produce, which would allow Marvel to be more flexible in highlighting individual titles (or, heck, even plot developments). On the negative side, comics is a visual medium while radio, quite obviously, is not.



So, there’s this joke… “What did the dying industry say to the other dying industry…”

Seriously. It’s great to see them trying but radio???? How about try dipping your toe in to subway/bus/public transport ads. “Hey! See this awesome superhero? You could be reading about him RIGHT NOW! Go to your comic shop, young man, and get thee a comic!”

How much does it cost to sponsor little league sports teams? Set aside a sponsorship fund so armies of little rugrats can run around with their name and an awesome comic character!! on the back of their hockey/baseball/football jersey. I doubt Marvel could afford to sponsor the big leagues, but there are kids out there who need uniforms.

Or, I dunno, partner with an airline and offer free digital comics on their personal entertainment screens to keep the kids from kicking the seat in front of them.

Try a couple of full page ads in a non-comic magazine. Empire. Playstation. A full colour sampler insert in to the latest Nat Geo for kids.

Make comics returnable for the retailers and repurpose those returned comics (WITH their covers intact) in to a mountain of freebies to be redistributed in logical ways. (Donate to children’s hospitals?) They’re just going to get bent and die in quarter bins unloved. May as well do something with ‘em.

There are tons of far better ways to go, but you’re right. Radio doesn’t actually play to the medium’s strengths.

That cover probably looks much better on the radio :P

But seriously, I agree with Caanan. This seems a little more than half-assed.

“Go to your comic shop, young man, and get thee a comic!”

While I agree in principle, this is a bit off point when critiquing the use of a dying medium to advertise a dying medium. Much respect to owners, but comic shops are a dying breed. If Marvel’s seriously concerned, why not cater to the best demographic a subway’s got to offer? Smart phone users.

The principle is spot on, throw up ads all over public transportation. NYC, Boston, DC, San Francisco, whatever. Throw up ads with QR codes to things like Comixology or the Marvel app. Maybe offer a bonus free comic for creating an account and see how it goes.


“On the negative side, comics is a visual medium while radio, quite obviously, is not.”

Sigh. Radio often has more in common with comics than comics have with TV.

A comic ad could totally get inside the head of a comic charcater by putting you inside the head of the character, in the way comics can but TV/film rarely can.

Radio can sell the benefits of comics rather than getting bogged down in features, simply because it doesn’t show pictures. It can however put far better pictures in your head. When it’s done right that it.

My favourite makeup ad was on radio “It’s not makeup, it’s ammunition” You can picture the exact shade of lipstick you want, rather than the few they show on a screen.

Likewise a good radio ad will have the best possible artist you can imagine drawing the comic… as long as you DON’T have to show it.

I mean, in all likelihood, the ads will be awful, these kind of things usually are. But they could be amazing. And far better than they could have been on TV.

I also think that radio is a better medium for advertising comics than TV. It’s not necessarily the young demographic, but certainly a different demographic than usual. I’m going to throw another often used argument at yous – ‘kids got games and films, they’re cheaper than comics and last longer.’ Maybe people who listen to the radio will be amused by some of this stuff. Besides, if you only hear about the visuals, you might be more interested in googling them.


November 13, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Keep in mind, people, that these spots will be fit in between ads for refinancing and the local car dealership. Don’t pretend it’ll be like the Shadow radio theatre from the 30s!

Radio? How can you advertise a primarily visual medium on radio?

I think anything can be creatively and effectively advertised in any medium if the ad is stellar. Marvel just needs to make sure they update their MySpace status so their millions of fans there will know.

Marcus Strong 85

November 13, 2012 at 9:08 pm


You can advertise taste on TV. You can advertise pictures on radio. Easy. As I said, often easier and more effective than advertising pictures on TV.

And Shadow of the 30s? What about Radio 4 of today?

@Rich: That’s not a thing. I haven’t seen anything about it in my comic books. :P

Leave a Comment


Browse the Robot 6 Archives