Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
When the canned-spinach cartel wanted to make its product more attractive, it put Popeye on the label.
Now a fruit producer is doing something similar with bananas — but in this case, the comic goes right on the peel. The multinational fruit and fresh produce company Fyffes, which is based in Ireland, teamed up with the German branding company Serviceplan to make bananas attractive to children by printing comics directly on the peels, using special laser printing technology. (One could argue that it also made comics attractive to children by printing them on bananas, but the fruit folks were paying the bills.) The bananas were then handed out to schoolchildren in Spain, Russia, Belgium and the United States — Why were we not told of this? — for an entire week.
The short comics were produced by Carlsen Verlag, publisher of Tintin, Spirou and other popular European comics, and they center around a boy named Fyfe who develops superpowers when he eats bananas. Perhaps bananas aren’t the best medium for reproduction, but the quality doesn’t look super-high. However, the kids, if you’ll pardon the term, ate them up, looking forward with glee to each day’s new banana/comic (at least if the press release and accompanying photos are to be believed).
This strategy opens up a range of possibilities, not just limited to children. Could comics be seared onto a nice steak or drizzled into the foam on a cappuccino? And I look forward to the day that food scientists tackle the ultimate challenge, both in terms of the technology and getting kids to eat it: Putting comics on kale.