PR: What Not to Do: “Now” Available in Two Months

I applaud Archie for trying to keep this story visible, since it’s the most newsworthy thing they’ve done in years, but I do have to quibble with their phrasing. It’s very common in comic circles, but the normal public won’t understand that “now” actually means “September”. And giving up on reaching the mass audience is what got comics into its current mess.

(The press release is indented quote; my comments are interspersed.)

THE MOST-TALKED ABOUT ARCHIE COMICS STORY OF THE YEAR IS NOW AVAILABLE IN ONE CONVENIENT COLLECTION!

Bad Boy Trouble cover

This spring, the world of Archie Comics was rocked by the publication of BETTY & VERONICA DOUBLE DIGEST #151, featuring the first installment of “Bad Boy Trouble,” an epic tale spanning four issues that found Riverdale’s favorite teens rendered in a realistic style! Not since the comic book adaptation of the TV-movie ARCHIE: TO RIVERDALE AND BACK AGAIN has the gang looked so real you could touch them!

Why bring that terrible TV movie up? I’m an Archie fan, I have a copy of the film, and yet I didn’t even know there was a comic book version. This distracts from the key message and does nothing but demonstrate the writer’s knowledge of pointless trivia.

When news of this ground-breaking story broke, it caused quite a stir… imagine, Riverdale’s teens with a whole new look! The news of Archie Comics’ flagship characters getting an extreme makeover caused a deafening buzz. From TV news reports to newspaper stories, magazine articles and internet blogs, everyone weighed in with their opinions on the change. The excitement reached a fever pitch at this year’s second annual blockbuster New York City Comic-Con, where both fans and media alike swarmed the Archie Comics booth, hoping to learn more about this major event!

I was at that convention. “Swarm” isn’t the word I’d use. Every time I walked by, there were maybe one or two people there. This is nitpicking, though, because this kind of language is expected in a press release.

The “new look,” while it inspired months and months of debate over and media coverage surrounding Betty and Veronica’s new looks, was only half the story. The other factor that caused great excitement and anticipation was the intriguing story that brought a new “edge” to Riverdale. When Nick St. Clair rides into Riverdale on his motorcycle, Veronica is smitten. She likes Nick’s air of assurance and his knack for getting noticed. The only problem, is Nick gets noticed for all the wrong things! Nick quickly alienates all of Ronnie’s friends, especially Betty. Is this handsome rebel the boy of Veronica’s dreams, or just plain trouble? Will Betty and Veronica’s friendship come to an end over the new boy in town?

Oh, of course not. And “edgy” only went as far as “sneaking into the movies without paying”. Still, expected text.

Now, all four installments of this heralded tale from BETTY & VERONICA DOUBLE DIGEST issues #151 through #154 are available in one convenient, affordable edition. The special 5 x 7½ inch format contains 112 full-color, thrill-packed pages, with a low cover price of only $7.49 US! Whether reading it again or discovering it for the first time, don’t miss the most talked about Archie story of the year!

BETTY & VERONICA: BAD BOY TROUBLE, ships 9/12.

This is the big problem. Only two of the four issues have come out so far. Putting out this news now encourages readers to wait for the collection, especially since it’s just about the same price as two issues of the digest series. The still-to-come comics suddenly look like stale products, even before they’re released.

Plus, as I pointed out before, “now available” doesn’t equal “can buy in mid-September” in most people’s minds. This kind of information is released on this cycle because of the Previews catalog and it’s two-months-in-advance retailer ordering schedule. The book Archie is promoting is just now available for preorder … but if that’s the message they want out there, they need to say that.


4 Responses to “PR: What Not to Do: “Now” Available in Two Months”

  1. Rik Says:

    Now the words “landmark prices” may seem too strong to you, but when was the last time you saw any Archie Digest sell at more then double cover price the same week it shipped?

  2. Rik Says:

    We send the press releases out to a lot of different sources. Most of whom will hold it until it is appropriate for their market. For comic web sites that would be before the Previews order deadline. As for the “now available”, I hope the line “BETTY & VERONICA: BAD BOY TROUBLE, ships 9/12″ would help fans understand it ships in September.

    About the “swarm” at our booth, we did 3 televised interviews. Talked to a lot of reporters, yourself included. All of whom talked about this project. Fans ask about it too. We gave out hundreds of free posters, and thousands of free comics. Our creators signed the free comics and one of our editors drew free sketches for the fans who were waiting for autographs. Our booth may not have been the biggest but we were very happy with the amount of fans and reporters that stopped by to talk to us.

    As to why we are doing this before the 3rd and 4th parts have been publishes is because we are hearing that fans are having trouble finding Betty & Veronica Double Digest 151. Many sources that sold out did not reorder. We looked at our options and decided it was best to let fan know if they missed the digest they could still get the story. The first prints of 151 were selling on eBay at landmark prices…

    5 copies of BVDD #151 sold at $8.50 including shipping. To under cut the guy selling them for $8.50, someone else put up a copy at $7.18 including shipping and sold it.

    Now I am sure other copies have gone on sale since at lower prices. However, when we saw this and got emails from fans saying they couldn’t find the first issue we reacted with an affordable priced copy.

    We are not the company that puts out a $24.99 hard cover and tries to ring every last dollar out of our fans. We want to get a copy of this story to every fan that wanted it at the best price possible.

  3. Johanna Says:

    I fear I’m going to be tagged the Queen of Quibble, but … an ebay sale at $7.18 if that includes shipping (which is usually at least $4 to cover fees) doesn’t put the book above $3.59 cover.

    All of what you say is great, so why not put that information in the press release? “We’re concerned that readers may have trouble finding this book and we want as many as possible to be able to read it” is a fine PR message.

    At the con, it sounds like the times I stopped by must have been rare non-busy times. I’m glad that you’ve found this success.

  4. Bad Boy Trouble: The Prequel » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] through various titles for the past two years) with a Betty & Veronica story called “Bad Boy Trouble“. In it, Veronica takes up with a new boy in town, a biker who treats everyone badly. It [...]

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