There is virtually nothing in our media soaked decade which embodies pop culture more than the superhero movie. The avalanche of marketing and endorsement tie-ins to these films has reached the point where it is literally impossible to walk through a chain fast food restaurant or department store without being assailed by multiple movie merchandising initiatives. While these formal merchandising deals cost millions to obtain from the studio there are valuable and effective guerrilla marketing strategies which can connect your brand to these popular movies … at no cost at all!
Royalties can reach the eight and even the nine figure level
Responsible for countless billions of dollars of box office sales around the world, DC’s Batman and Superman, and Marvel’s Spiderman, X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Fantastic Four, and many others have parlayed their way out of the pages of comic books into the world’s popular consciousness. Along with this parade of superheroes has come the barrage of tie-ins which have these costumed characters on T-shirts, drink cups, and just about every physical item that is even remotely brandable. Unfortunately, not all brands can actually afford the hefty royalties demanded by the studios which in many cases can reach the eight and even the nine figure level. However, that does not necessarily translate into not being able to create a marketing campaign which capitalizes on this superhero phenomenon.
Create your own proprietary superhero while steering clear of studio trademarks
The simplest and most straightforward superhero movie tie-in has to be to create your own proprietary superhero. While Superman is mostly known for his flying abilities, he certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on the practice as just in DC comics alone Green Lantern, Hawkman, Wonder Woman, Red Tornado, and the entire Legion of Super Heroes can fly just as well. So if self-powered flight is not identifiable with any one particular character, why can’t your proprietary superhero fly around as well? While you would be well advised to keep DC’s legal team from slamming you because you applied their red cape and S chest symbol to your superhero, there are infinite alternatives which will keep you safe from subpoenas.
A bit of graphic artistry and a touch of comic book nerdiness
Concocting your own superhero who can trigger an association in the mind of your consumer with the currently released and popular genre movies can be easier than you think. A bit of graphic artistry, a touch of comic book nerdiness, and presto, you have a brand superhero that can help drive your message home to the Comic-Con crowd. The strategy of featuring your superhero prominently in your overall campaigns can even be keyed to whatever superhero movie is currently popular. When the next Superman feature is released your own superhero can fly, and when the next Spiderman film comes out your superhero can climb a wall.
Some superheroes are in the public domain so are yours for the taking
Did you know that Thor is a Norse God whose basic “superhero features” predate Marvel Comics by several centuries? Thor is fully in the public intellectual property arena and as long as you stick to the Norse legends and not to any characteristics overlaid by Stan Lee and company, there should be nothing that the studio can object to. Many other popular main motion picture characters (although not strictly superheroes) such as Dracula and Frankenstein are fully in the public domain, so you can incorporate them into your marketing strategies to your heart’s content. As in the case of Thor, you just have to be careful that you’re adhering to the original literary form, not any features that have been added on by the studios.
While you should never engage in any guerrilla movie tie-in marketing without obtaining clearance from an experienced attorney, there is literally no limit to this strategy other than your imagination. Let your creative juices flow to come up with innovative marketing approaches which do not violate any studio’s intellectual property while providing you the benefit of galvanizing the attention of your customer base. Concoct a superhero superstrategy and supercharge your bottom line!
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