Striking a Chord with Comic Product Placement
Strika Entertainment, which began creating its football-themed comic in South Africa, has expanded its operations and is now widely present in South America, with an eye on the U.S. Hispanic market.
The company’s business model is to incorporate brands’ logos into the comic. “There are two types of sponsors that we work with,” says regional director Richard Morgan. “Our headline advertisers sponsor teams within our story, and their logos appear on the uniforms of those teams.”
The other group of sponsors are the featured sponsors, who are otherwise incorporated into the comics: “Say Coca-Cola is doing a contest for Pele’s football cleats,” says Morgan. “Our comic might have a character looking under the bottle top going after the prize and telling another player about it.” Or the comic might show a player drinking a coke, or show a branded vending machine, etc. One clear-cut rule is that the magazine does not feature competing sponsors.
Current clients include: Visa, Texaco and telecom company Movistar
The Super Strikers comic, a.k.a. Super Estrikas
comic in Latin America, is distributed mainly through newspapers. Currently, it runs as a 24-page monthly insert in leading newspapers in:
Colombia: 120,000 Circ.
El Salvador: 110,000 Circ.
Honduras: 50,000 Circ.
Guatemala: 55,000 Circ.
Panama: 48,000 Circ.
The company is also expanding into Nicaragua, Brazil, and Mexico in the next year. Seeing promise in the U.S. Hispanic market, Strika Entertainment is also planning to distribute in Houston, TX through La Vibra, La Voz, or both.
“One thing we’ve found is that papers are really quite interested in our product because it attracts younger readers, a demographic many are keen to have on.” Some schools are even including the comic in their curriculum to encourage reading among their pupils.
The company is also developing full length cartoons for television audiences.
“Our average reader is 16 years old, which is a good target for a lot of advertisers,” says Morgan. He points out that given that it is a Sports comic, it enjoys a high readership among females, who account for 40% of their audience. The company recently enlisted the services of TNS Media, which revealed the following data about the comics readers:
*40% under 12
*Rest is spread out
Other initiatives include: development of a Super Strikas video game, branded merchandise and mobile features such as ringtones and wallpapers.
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