Thursday, 13 June 2019

Something different!

I was recently commissioned to draw the covers for a booklet for an advertising research agency, System 1, who wanted it to resemble the old Summer Specials. One big beach image on the front, and a strip on the back. 

The brief was to use several well known characters from TV adverts, such as the Meerkats and the man on the horse from the Old Spice ads. I had some leeway to change things of course, so I put him on a donkey. 

The back cover strip is Flo and her Fluent Device; the sort of "kid with gadget" strip that was popular in the old IPC comics. System 1's head of marketing, Tom Ewing, wrote the script, which was top class and would have fitted in perfectly with any comic. 

The booklet will be given away at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity next week. 

John Freeman has more info on his Down the Tubes blog here:


Peter Gray said...

Good fun I see the Gorilla playing Phil Collins!
what does Flo device do?

Lew Stringer said...

It summons up characters from adverts. Down the Tubes has an example if you click on the link.

Manic Man said...

ah, a subject I have kinda an interest in ^_^ I can't remember if I've commented on it lately but I think a lot of 'freebie' comics as adverts etc, are a much overlooked field of british comics. While not always great by any means, there are tons of good examples around like Dentist waiting room exclusive comics, comics used as print adverts for a product, or even printed onto the packaging itself which are worthy of a good look at.

Use of Well made and rememberable characters in adverts is just the same. I kinda feel they do less of them today as in old days due to it being seen as 'kiddie' and the problems, like faced in the US with the licencing of H-B characters purely to sell food (some of which was far from good, but cause it's got the kids favour character, they wanted it). In a way, the same goes for some cartoon shows.. While some people (and sadly, some of the creators) will look down at comics and tv shows made primary to sell a range of toys (Transformers, He-man, etc) there are often good things in there. If you want to sell products the best, you better have something good to support them. If you have a totally bad cartoon series, people won't really be wanting to pick up the toys. But if you have a great one, they will. Same with adverts. A good character that people remember and like, like the Martians from SMASH (Earth people peel there own potatoes … then smashed them all to bits), the Oxo Family (erm.. pass on a popular saying there), The Weetabix Crew (if you know what's good for you! OK!), The Milky bar kid (The Milky bars are on me!) etc. then people will be more interested in your produce. I think if there was much doubt in peoples minds, Aldi in the UK kinda cemented showing how that works by the 'Kevin the Carrot' character which they then launch a toy range which just flew out of the shops in no time. (Personally, I just love one of the kids is called Jasper.. Jasper the Carrot ^_^)

A lot can go into a character and series to make it appealing in order to sell stuff and it's often forgotten that it CAN mean it's good quality stuff.. though for every good one, there are tons they failed.. Argos Aliens (God Awful), the Tango Voodoo thing that replaced the clown, Young Action Man Captain Birdseye... of course, its also the case (as commented on) where a company decide instead of trying to think of a new loveable character, just license one that is already popular.. Dennis the Menace Sweets, Sonic the Hedgehog Corn snacks, Bill 'n Ted breakfast cereal etc.. most don't have a long life span like that. but the odd one goes.. Fido Dido is still going..

Lew Stringer said...

Ive covered some strips that were advertisement related on my Blimey blog but there must be a lot undiscovered that were only seen by people attending corporate functions etc. (For example, this System 1 strip will only be seen by people in the advertising industry who attend the Cannes event.) Comic strips were seen as an effective and attractive way to promote a company's wares years ago,

Yes, a good character in advertising becomes iconic and memorable as you said. Part of pop culture. It's an interesting subject!