Themed comic strip book release brings in revenue, increased sales for Ekstra Bladet

by Nana Emilie Grew        

Curated comic strips by famed cartoonist Morten Ingemann create a new revenue generator that boosts brand, circulation, and revenue even in a saturated market.

Click the image to view a larger versionLast year, Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet launched six comic strip books made by famous cartoonist Morten Ingemann. Each book had an individual theme and was released exclusively with Ekstra Bladet for US$5.40 every Friday from July 1 through August 5 – the peak newspaper selling period of the year. 
The campaign resulted in a 5% increase in newspaper sales and the campaign created more than US$163,000 in sales.
Ingemann has a daily strip on the back of Ekstra Bladet where he ridicules current events and societal problems by frying everyone -- politicians, priests, police, celebrities, the gay, the bourgeoisie, and the proletariat. No one can feel safe from his harsh but witty pen. His direct and often sexual style has many fans outside Ekstra Bladet readers as well. 
We contacted Ingemann, who was very keen on the idea. Using his existing material, he created six books — each with a provocative theme: “Samliv Og Underliv” (“Relationships and Abdomens”), “Kvinder, Kællinger, og Kvarulanter” (“Women, Bitches, and Naysayers”), “Sol, Strand, og Sport” (“Sun, Beach, and Sports), “De Frække” (“The Dirty Ones”), “Flere af de Frække” (“More Dirty Ones”), and “De Suveræne” (“The Best of the Best”). 
Using existing material in new packaging, we were able to keep costs low. At the same time, we came up with a new and exclusive product that had not been on the market before.
Co-promotional activities using books, CDs, and DVDs have been common in Danish newspapers and magazines for the past several years. Earlier campaigns had been successful, but profits were declining steadily and the market seemed saturated — and the retail industry was increasingly dissatisfied with products that did not generate revenue. 
We therefore needed a new idea. By publishing the Ingemann books, we were able to distinguish ourselves from the competition, increase newspaper circulation by 5%, create value for our readers, generate profit for both retailers and ourselves, and improve our brand likability as well as our relationship with the retail industry — all while generating more than US$163,000 in sales.
The key to the success of the campaign comes down to three main points, which can be used as inspiration for future co-promotions:
  1. Use your exclusive rights or something unique to your product to distinguish yourself from the competition.
  2. Choose a product that is closely aligned with and is a natural extension of your brand.
  3. Re-use existing material in new packaging to keep costs low.

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