Marvel Pursues Deeper Online Ad Integrations

The online home of Spider-Man, the X-Men and Captain America is looking to upgrade its advertising and sponsorship capabilities, and has signed with online ad rep firm Gorilla Nation to bring new opportunities to its site.

The company’s Web site at Marvel.com lays claim to 21 million page views per month, with 64 percent of that number coming from the 18- to 49-year-old age group. Marvel recently determined it had “outgrown” its previous display advertising only model and wanted to explore giving advertisers the ability to partner on re-skinning players and other projects, said John Dokes, vice president of online operations and marketing for Marvel Entertainment.

“We’ve recently gone through some redesigns with our Web site and we spoke with [Gorilla Nation] about what we needed to do to get the traffic through the site a lot smoother, but to make sure that the ad placements we have in the site are high value placements,” said Dokes. “Marvel is a highly prized brand and advertising on Marvel’s site allows people to get close to that brand and the fan base.”

Now in rotation on Marvel.com are display ads for the DVD version of After Dark and the U.S. Air Force. Gorilla Nation plans to seek out a range of verticals in selling new integrated ad opportunities.

“It’s a big and complicated brand, so they’re not going to be letting anyone and everyone do deep integration on their site. But over the next six to eight months you are going to be seeing interesting things on the site,” said Brad Agens, SVP of advertising sales for Gorilla Nation. “I’m excited about not only selling this to film studios and video game advertisers, but we think there are a lot of brands out there interested in signing on with Marvel to reach the 18 to 34 demographic.”

The Marvel site is not solely devoted to comics, but includes online videos, blogs, newsletters, and contests, all of which might be monetized, according to Dokes. Marvel is also familiar with sponsorships, having worked with Jeep to solicit online submissions for a comic book plotline, and an online comic promoting M&M’s. However, the primary focus for the moment is advertising directly on Marvel.com.

“Right now [we’re] just focused on the site itself. All other opportunities are going to be expanded upon early next year,” said Dokes. “We’re doing more things with re-skins and things that are specific for clients that want to advertise on Marvel.com. Gorilla Nation was a good partner for that.”

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