SELLiNG THE STY: NEWSAGENT MARKETiNG

We’re approaching the beginning of my real time read through of this site’s namesake comic and I’ve got some treats in store for pig pals as we count down the days.

Last month I showed you an interview with John Sanders, IPC Magazines‘ Youth Group Managing Director from the pages of industry magazine CTN, published in March 1986. Now we’re coasting through April and this month newsagents across the UK received word of that brand new comic John spoke about. OiNK was about to make its appearance but first of all those selling it had to be convinced to place orders, and hopefully sizeable ones at that.

Thanks to OiNK co-creator/editor and cartoonist Tony Husband for sharing these original four-page promotional leaflets. They’re certainly bright, colourful and eye-catching.

I love the written description beside the exhausted Uncle Pigg, especially the “precocious” part. My first issue of OiNK was #14 and it instantly spoke to me, so I’m guessing that was an accurate description of me too. OiNK never spoke down to us, never treated us like little children. It felt like it was put together by a team who just wanted to make each other laugh and us pig pals were part of the gang. I believe this is the reason its humour stands up so well today and can still be enjoyed by anyone of any age.

At the time new comics would normally be marketed with television advertisements, such as the one for Marvel UK‘s The Transformers I showed you in that aforementioned John Sanders post. But of course OiNK would be doing things differently and a big deal was made of the fact IPC were giving away their first ever preview issue. Not only that, it was a full-sized free comic and packaged inside some of their best-selling titles, namely Buster, Eagle and Tiger and Whizzer and Chips.

The launch gifts are given prominent space here too, which is understandable when a free record is one of them. Also mentioned are the “Blockbuster Advertisements” which would show up between issues one and two in the pages of the three comics above as well as Roy of the Rovers, 2000AD and Battle. That’s a huge promotional push right there!

In case you’re wondering what “Fully S.O.R.” means, this stands for “Sale or Return” and would refer to newsagents being able to return unsold copies and receive full reimbursement for them. This would enable them to make bigger orders for those initial issues, safe in the knowledge they could push the comic in their stores with plenty of issues on display without fear of losing any money.

So the comic was on its way and our newsagents were placing their orders. The next step was to make the potential readers aware of that fantastic free comic coming very soon. Come back in a few days on Thursday 15th April 2021 and I’ll show you what they did.

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