Mar 18, 2010
Maximizing Return on News
With the historic election of Barack Obama, a huge number of collectibles featuring the then President-Elect were created to capitalize on the tremendous excitement surrounding his election and inauguration.
While on the campaign trail, Obama mentioned that he was a huge comic book fan and collected Spider-Man comics as a child. Looking for a way to recognize Obama’s enthusiasm for Spider-Man, Marvel decided to integrate Obama into a Spider-Man comic book, to be released around his inauguration.
Marvel conceptualized a special edition comic book with Obama featured on the cover with Spider-Man. A special storyline — ”Spidey Meets the President” — was created to be extraordinarily timely. Taking place in Washington, D.C., Spider-Man saves the Inauguration from a potential disruption from the villain Chameleon.
DKC was charged by Marvel with turning the comic book into a major historic and cultural event that would generate attention from both political and mainstream press, appealing to both long-time fans and new comic book readers. DKC’s strategy was focused on creating an aggressive and sustained media relations campaign to build significant awareness for Marvel around the release of this special edition.
December 2008-February 2009
DKC quickly developed a plan to leverage this historic comic event in the mainstream media with a multi-tiered approach. First was to break the news exclusively with one major outlet the week prior to the release of the special edition. Following the exclusive break, DKC would then leverage the excitement and ”Obama-mania” trend to maximize additional media in the week leading up to the comic’s release on January 14 – less than a week before Obama’s inauguration when the eyes of the world were on everything Obama – and beyond.
DKC broke the news of the Amazing Spider-Man #583 ”Spidey Meets the President” with an exclusive first look in USA Today on January 9, 2009 – five days before the series would hit newsstands. Following this break, the story became one of the top news stories of the day. Capitalizing on the buzz generated by this piece, DKC secured national and major market coverage including The New York Times, Associated Press, Reuters, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, New York Post, Newsweek, Forbes and Time.
The story was picked up by hundreds of outlets, with notable national broadcast coverage including ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and The Today Show, among many others. An impressive online presence included coverage on top sites including The Huffington Post, Wired.com, Perez Hilton and The Daily Beast. Internationally, the story was covered by Agence France Press, The Sydney Morning Herald, BBC News and others.
Following the initial blitz, DKC kept the comic in the news cycle by pitching the comic within larger ”Obama-bilia” stories, yielding significant additional top-tier coverage. DKC created a third wave of buzz over President’s Day weekend as Marvel offered the comic book digitally on its web site for free.
While Marvel releases hundreds of titles a year, DKC was able to turn Amazing Spider-Man #583 Spidey Meets the President into a break-out hit and a collector’s item, selling nearly one million copies in the process. Thanks in large part to the media campaign, which generated hundreds of millions of media impressions, Amazing Spider-Man #583 set sales records to become one of the most successful events in comics publishing history. Retailers across the country reported long lines before their stores even opened, and news crews covered the scene to interview customers waiting in line. Comic book retailers also reported seeing more new faces going into specialty shops to pick up the special issue than for any other comic in recent memory, including many who had never before purchased a comic book but were looking to own a piece of history. Some retailers reported that shoppers flew in from other states or drove hours just to pick up their own edition. Amazing Spider-Man #583 became an instant sellout and the best-selling comic book in a decade. Due to unprecedented demand, the issue immediately went back to press and ultimately cycled through six printings.