DC has been promising a HUGE marketing campaign for the New 52 launching in just a few trembling weeks. And now the first ad is online, but not embeddable yet. (Drat.) Hero Complex is showing a 30-second version which will be shown in movie theaters as part of National CineMedia’s “FirstLook” ad block — you know, in between the ads for Fanta and something starring Ashton Kutcher.

They also have an exclusive extended 2 minute clip.

Both use enhanced motion-comics type technology to present the Big Three (back to Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman after Green Lantern has a brief run at the top) accompanied by some active rock chords. At the end of the spot there are a few titles that get right to the crux of the matter:


That could be a very effective lure for new readers.

The longer spot is more of the same technique for more characters, including Green Lantern, Aquaman, Grifter, Mr. Terrific, Voodoo and so on.

It’s not a bad ad as far as it goes. We are not big fans of motion comics — but would viewers react favorably to static images set to music? Has anyone ever actually done any audience research into this?

Whatever our own tastes, this is a huge investment for Warner Brothers, so let’s give them props for that.


  1. While I applaud them for going outside the box and trying something new, these both suck. They’re static, they’re flat, and they’re mysterious — but in a “what was that, who are these guys, and why should I care about them?” way, not a “wow, I want these!” way.

    All in all, they look like the most elaborate fan-video ever made. While I understand they want to play on the dynamism of the images, I’d have thought they’d have spent a couple of bucks to actually animate them, not just do motion comics.

    Once again, there’s nothing to appeal to me, the long-time reader.

  2. I feel that the focus is more on ’52 #1 Comic Books’ than ‘this is where you can get these comic books. Or why you would want them beyond the fact that they are #1 issues.

    Maybe a tag line “If you liked the movies….read the stories that inspired them…”

    If the aim is for new readers, it doesn’t really give them much information.

    Still, I applaud them for trying something.

  3. The real key would be to sell the comics in the foyer of cinemas. That way you hook the newbies who have just seen the ad. Bring the comics to the audience, don’t expect the audience to go searching for their nearest LCS.

  4. “don’t expect the audience to go searching for their nearest LCS.”

    I don’t think that’s the goal anyway. They want them to go to read.dccomics.com as indicated at the end of the ad.

  5. Frankly, this effort merely exposes that DCE are too cheap to bring in knowledgeable marketing people for their new initiative. Overall, the ads look half-baked and amateurish. There’s no real hook for new readers to jump on board, and it doesn’t reassure the longtime reader that DC has any idea of who and what their characters represent, other than interchangeable merchandising licenses.

  6. Does anyone pay attention to the ads before the movie starts? If so, is *anyone* writing down websites? This just seems like a half-assed attempt so later on someone can say – hey, we tried….

  7. Selling comics in movie theaters… yeah, that’s gonna happen.

    1) Movie theaters make most of their profit from concessions. (The studios take most of the box office in the first two weeks of release.) There’s not enough margin and profit in selling comics, and too much work figuring out what gets sold when, and how to return it for credit.

    2) People don’t expect to buy comics in a movie theater.

    3) Why distract the viewer with comics? You want them to watch the “First Look” commercials shown before the trailers.

    4) When was the last time any theater sold a printed tie-in? Probably during the time of the road shows. And look at all the movie specials that get published, the “behind the scenes” magazines, the poster magazines, even Cinefex. Those are more likely candidates, but even those aren’t sold in theaters.

    “read.dccomics.com” is easy to memorize. And look what takes up most of the home screen… the Comic Shop Locator. And there’s a subscription page! When was the last time you saw one of those?

    How successful is an ad? That’s hard to judge. Probably by newsstand/non-LCS sales. And that theater audience, waiting for the show to start? That’s a captive audience.

  8. 1)This is only the first of what they have said will be a wide marketing campaign. IT makes sense to me to put these ads in front of what has thus far been the most popular associated medium with comics in the last 5 to 10 years. read.dccomics.com seems pretty simple to me. Anybody who can’t remember is is probably not interested enough to start reading comics anyways.

    2)Why does there have to be such an extreme negative slant to everything any of the major publishers do from the fanbase. People have argued for years that comics should advertise. DC starts to stick their toe in the water of something that has NEVER been done in my life time to my remembrance – advertising outside of the direct market. How many armchair marketers posting here actually have experience and success at actually marketing and advertising? And if you do and are so much better at it, why haven’t you been hired by DC?

  9. My sense is that there’s a negative slant because fans of the medium want DC to be successful at this – a rising tide should lift all boats – but people are concerned about DC half-assing it. We need the full ass!

    On the ad – the graphics are great. If it was set to some inspiring music (along the lines of the Superman movie) it might make people excited about the content. And a call to action…”Join us for a new beginning – 52 new #1 comic books in September” could make a difference too.

  10. “but people are concerned about DC half-assing it. We need the full ass!”

    LOL this comment made me chuckle…

  11. Full ass or no ass! . . . okay, better stop before this comment thread starts showing up on some highly questionable search queries. @_@

    I think it looks okay – highly visual without getting too “motion comic”-y – though I wish there had been more focus on WHY the comics are worth reading. 30 seconds is too short for summaries, but maybe a few captions like –

    “Your favorite heroes . . . brand new stories . . . available every month!”

    – paired with shots of the covers could add interest.

  12. “How many armchair marketers posting here actually have experience and success at actually marketing and advertising?”

    Why is this important to you? I don’t give away tips for free, although there are plenty who do attempt to make a mint scamming some aspiring marketeers with ‘tips for success’ sites.

    “And if you do and are so much better at it, why haven’t you been hired by DC?”

    Not really a valid question in a stagnant economy. Considering the sinking ship they seem to be steering over there, perhaps DCE needs to TRY HARDER to hire people like me, instead of their current marketing philosophy of ‘winging it’, because this sure isn’t working.

    By the way, why should anybody be offended by criticism directed at a flailing corporation? Talk about misplaced narcissism.

  13. The last time I recall seeing ads for comics were for G.I. Joe in the ’80s. Being fully animated, the spots apparently had to be produced well in advance of the comic, because the plot teasers *never* matched the actual plot of the issue advertised.

    But I digress. The first, shorter spot doesn’t have any kind of call to action and doesn’t make it clear that anything is happening outside of DC publishing some comic books featuring characters even casual observers probably associate with them. It ought to give a sense of something new, a place for non-readers to jump on.