Marvel’s Other “Blackest Night” Promotions
Last week, Marvel Comics caused a stir with their controversial promotion that asks retailers to strip the covers of fifty unsold "Blackest Night" tie-ins (like "R.E.B.E.L.S." #10, seen at left) from their rivals at DC in exchange for a free Deadpool variant of their major event book, "Siege."
With retailers and fans on both sides arguing over whether this is a childishly obnoxious move or an audacious, hilarious zing at the competition, the sheer amount of attention that they're getting has ensured that it's already a success. But is it the best promotion they could've done to draw readers to their side? We leave that to you to decide, as ComicsAlliance's marketing wizard Chris Sims takes a look at the "Blackest Night" promotions Marvel could've done... but didn't.
Punch A Friend For Deadpool!
The Idea: In a tie-in to Marvel's favorite cartoonishly violent sociopath, retailers would be asked to trick their friends into holding a DC comic over their faces, at which time the retailer would just straight up punch them in the jaw. For every video uploaded to YouTube, the retailer would get a free variant of "Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth" #6.
The Benefit: From a purely psychological standpoint, readers would be leery of picking up another DC book, lest they get another slug in the mouth.
Why They Didn't: What the legal department referred to as "catastrophic lawsuit potential."
The Idea: Essentially the same as what they went with, in this scenario retailers would instead strip the covers of unsold copies of "Justice League: Cry For Justice," the comic where Green Lantern and the Atom torture people while other super-heroes stand around weeping.
The Benefit: Just like the "Blackest Night" scenario, Marvel gets a dis in on the competition and attention for their product.
Why They Didn't: Given the amount of unsold "Cry For Justice," this would pretty much bankrupt the company.
The Idea: Inspired by YouTube sensation Autotune The News, retailers would be encouraged to do a dramatic reading of a classic Marvel comic, autotuning it and setting it to music to create a song. For each song, you guessed it, they get a Deadpool variant.
The Benefit: Everyone loves a song!
Why They Didn't: Fear that a disproportionate number of incentive variants would go not to retailers, but to T-Pain. SHAWTAYYY!
The Idea: "Inspired" by DC's successful Lantern Rings promotion, Marvel would offer retailers a similar incentive based on their own power ring-wielding villain: Iron Man's old foe The Mandarin!
The Benefit: If we have learned anything over the past few months, it's that comics readers love little plastic rings, and retailers will increase orders to get them.
Why They Didn't: Unlike the brightly colored rings or the Rainbow Lantern Corps, Don Heck's designs for the Mandarin's Rings are all pretty similar, with only different facings to tell them apart, thus making them a little less eye-catching for readers. But then again, Stan Lee did remember that "death" and "willpower" are not actually emotions.
The Idea: Capitalizing on the fact that Geoff Johns is the mastermind behind DC's biggest current titles, retailers could exchange covers stripped from unsold "Blackest Night" tie-ins for a new limited edition of that one issue of "Avengers" Johns wrote where Hank Pym and the Wasp use their shrinking powers for a sexy time in Las Vegas.
The Benefit: With the comics-reading public gripped in Geoffamania, there's never been a better time to remind readers about that "Avengers" run, especially with a hardcover hitting shelves soon.
Why They Didn't: Scientists have theorized that an exchange of comics where characters vomit out their blood to replace it with hate, and comics where Hank Pym shrinks down so that he can quite literally get all up in the Wasp would create some sort of feedback loop that, not unlike the Large Hadron Collider, could suck in the entire world.