Monday, August 16, 2010

Expanding Archie's Brand

Archie, Veronica, Jughead, Betty, and the whole gang in Riverdale are part of an ambitious plan to expand the Archie brand into new media and new product possibilities. The buzz started last year, with news that Archie might wed one of his long-time girlfriends (actually, there were two "weddings" but neither was real). When these story lines appeared, Archie's comic book sales soared, and sales have remained higher than before the "weddings."

Parodies of Twilight and other pop-culture phenomena--starring Archie, of course--have been previewed on MTV's site. Now the Archie brand is on Facebook and Twitter and the characters star in online games and other digital fun. All of this is part of a broader strategy for updating Archie and his pals for 21st-century marketing by showcasing the brand for new audiences.

Coincidentally, the USPS recently released a new series of stamps honoring classic comics, including Archie (see above). Yes, the stamps show the old Archie, but they also raise awareness of the brand's authenticity and longevity, not to mention pushing nostalgia buttons.

Comics are a big and tough business. Archie the brand competes with a spectrum of characters and corporate owners, including those under the Marvel umbrella (part of deep-pocketed Walt Disney).

How far can Archie's brand extend?

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