Thursday, 29 September 2011


Front cover

Back when I had a full-time career working in comics, I occasionally found time to involve myself in outside projects.  One such job was for a company run by two local entrepreneurs (brothers), who at that time had a vast 'empire' of diverse business operations in various towns and cities across Scotland;  shops, restaurants, cafes, ice rinks, food outlets, etc.

In an attempt to promote one of their restaurants (situated above an ice rink), they asked me if I'd come up with something to highlight the family appeal of their establishment.  They wanted to emphasize that the restaurant wasn't just for adults to come to on a night out, but also somewhere to bring the kids during the day and on special, fun occasions.


Borrowing a leaf from McDONALDS (although this place wasn't a burger bar by any means - it was a proper, fancy, Italian restaurant), I created a mascot and came up with a little activity 'booklet' to occupy the kids once they were in the door and to make them want to come back again.  (The idea was that I'd update it every so often.)

Here's the first and only one ever produced.  (Which was a shame, as the money was good.)  It was done in a hurry, hence my inclusion of a couple of cartoons I'd produced for some camping posters back in the late '70s, early '80s, in order to save time.  The kids loved it, apparently, but unfortunately the management failed to persuade enough people that it wasn't the high-class, expensive restaurant it really was.

Back cover

The moral of the story?  If you want to capture the McDonalds kiddie-contingent, then you have to provide more than bits of paper for them to colour in;  you need to compete at the same price level as well.

The same thing also applies to comics.  One of the reasons for falling circulation nowadays is that they're just far too expensive in relation to everything else.  Publishers take note.


Andy Boal said...

You do realise it's WHSmiths, Tesco, Sainsburys, and the other supermarkets who push up the price by charging to stock them? That's why the subscriptions are so much cheaper - it costs considerably less to post the Beano via Royal Mail than to put it in a supermarket or a chain of newsagents. Assuming said supermarket actually displays it properly so it might sell, of course.

Kid said...

Yup, it's undoubtedly part of the problem, which is why D.C. Thomson should have the cost of the comic as low as possible to begin with. I'd drop the page count, reduce the colour and use a cheaper paper.

Selling by subscription would work against itself in the long run if it ever became the main way Thomson's sold their products. Comics need to be on the shelves for casual and potential new readers to see them if they want to have a hope of increasing their circulation.

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