Comic characters better than c-list celebrities

According to an article on Mint, comic strip characters have the recognition of celebrities at a fraction of the cost when it comes to businesses using them to build brand recognition and advertising campaigns. Due to an economic downturn worldwide, using comic strip characters is a growing trend because in addition to the cost, the comic strip can add an element of humor.

The premise for using popular comic-strip characters, experts say, is essentially the same as that for a brand picking a celebrity endorser. There is an instant recognition, a familiar character connects better with consumers, and the values of that celebrity could have a positive rub-off on the brand.

“Most comic-strip characters or cartoon characters are very well established,” says K.V. Sridhar, national creative director of Leo Burnett India Pvt. Ltd, citing the example of Tom and Jerry. “When you see them on screen, you know what’s going to happen. So in that sense, they telegraphically communicate what they are and what they stand for.”

Using a comic-strip character could also help make a brand distinct. Not only is the visual a familiar and reassuring part of daily life, as most people tend to read comic strips in their daily newspaper, but the illustration, more often than not, is simplified and tends to stand out in the clutter of fanciful ads, says Samir Patil, chief executive and founder of Amar Chitra Katha Pvt. Ltd, which publishes popular Indian comic books such as Tinkle and stories from Indian epics and mythology in the comic-book format.

The article is focused primarily on usage of comics in India (Mint is a collaborative site by the Wall Street Journal and Hindustan Times), but raises some good points as to the value of a well established comic character. While the article mentions a growing trend of using comic strip characters, I imagine that it is only among comics that appear in large number of newspapers (the story only cites use of Peanuts, Garfield and Dilbert characters).

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