Comics in Advertising

These three comic strips illustrate some of the different ways advertisers used comics to sell their products. Using a well known celebrity or creating a character that would become familiar to the audience were common strategies that are still used today. These examples reveal the success advertisers found when they incorporated comics in their ads.

This page includes articles from an August 15, 1935 edition of Advertising and Selling and focuses on how the comics can sell the product. Click on the pictures for a bigger, better view.



The Ghost that Works for Postum

An advertising comic strip, like a good movie sequence, should be carefully planned. Here are three strips for three different products, each employing a different approach--and with success. One is built around a celebrity that appears in each advertisement, another creates its own character who is the hero of each episode, while still another changes its characters and its situations with each advertisement but retains the ever-present ghost as the villain. One of the strips starts selling the product in the first balloon while the others carefully build up the situation to the advertising moral at the end.

The comic strip sequence for Postum uses the "Aside"--a stage device as old as Drama. "Mr. Coffee Nerves" stalks villianously -- and triumphantly -- through the early pictures only to be thwarted when his victim discovers the answer to his troubles.

Product: Postum.

Agency: Young & Rubicam, Inc. (on all comics shown here).

Cartoonist: Albert Dorne.



Shades of Chaplin, Langdon and Laurel

Little Alby is a created character, a likeable under-dog of that famous breed that has produced the stage characters of Charlie Chaplin, Harry Langdon and Stan Laurel. All innocence and nothing to hide, he has one supreme passion -- he is crazy about Grape-Nuts Flakes and says so in the very first balloon. Like the man who was willing to walk a mile for a Camel, Little Alby will do practically anything to get a bowl of those crisp, crunchy, golden flakes that are his favorite breakfast dish. The pictures are simple in compsition, teh cast small and action fast -- and the balloons never once forget those delicious flakes that Little Alby craves.

Product: Grape-Nuts Flakes.

Cartoonist: A. Halpert.



The Strip with a Moral

An example of an advertising comic strip built around a celebrity - an astutely selected personality. Grape Nuts is a popular cereal with youngsters and is famed as an energy food. Dizzy Dean is popular with youngsters and famed for his energetic activities on the base ball diamond. This land is populated with lads who wish they could handle a baseball like "Old Diz". The sequence develops an episode in which the incognito Dizzy helps a boy achieve an ambition and in the midst of this high adventure Dizzy plants the moral of the sales story. -"Plenty of sleep, fresh air, exercise and food that gives you energy -- Grape-Nuts is my favorite cereal". The strip is drawn is drawn simplicity, is packed with action, and the story moves as rapidly as a well-planned movie sequence. In this strip the strategy is to hold the selling arguments to the very end. Each strip in the series is built around the same celebrity -- Dizzy Dean.

Product: Grape-Nuts.
Cartoonist: Ben Dale.

All Information found in:
Advertising and Selling,August 15, 1935, page 30-32. Frederick C. Kendall, Editor; M.L. Gaffney, Managing Editor. Robbins Publishing Company, Inc. Philadelphia.

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