Product Placement Returns to Comics

"Superheroes like Superman and Spider-Man can save mankind from natural disasters, space aliens and evil mutants. But there's one thing they are powerless to stop: Advertisers shilling products within the pages of the comic books they call home.

In July, Time Warner Inc.'s DC Comics, home to characters such as Batman and Aquaman, is launching "Rush City," a six-part miniseries that boasts visible promotional support from General Motors Corp.'s Pontiac. As part of the series, a new hero known as "The Rush" will be prominently featured driving a Pontiac Solstice in the comic book. "The car will be as essential to the character as the Aston Martin was to James Bond," says David McKillips, vice president of advertising and custom publishing for DC Comics.

Over the past few months, Marvel Entertainment Inc. has begun putting the "swoosh" logo from Nike Inc. in the scenes of some of its titles, such as "New X-Men." So far, the emblem has appeared on a car door and on a character's T-shirt. "We are always looking for new and interesting ways of connecting with our consumers," says Nate Tobecksen, a Nike spokesman. "This is certainly one of them."

-- Wall Street Journal (April 18, 2006) via Clickable Culture, Dotting

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