‘Marvel Super Hero September’ Puts Spotlight on Characters Outside Theaters

Disney hopes to turn marketing blitz into annual event

Marvel's Avengers 2012

Does Marvel have a new franchise with “Marvel Super Hero September?”

In one of the more ambitious marketing efforts launched around characters or a popular franchise since Lucasfilm’s annual “Star Wars Day” celebrations, Disney has rallied Marvel’s retail and licensing partners around the crime fighters as part of a national marketing blitz the companies hope will put a spotlight on the characters outside the multiplex when a high-profile film like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” or “Guardians of the Galaxy” isn’t playing.

Walmart, Target, Kmart, Payless, Party City, Amazon and the Disney Store will feature promotions and in-store events, while Hasbro, Hallmark, Jay Franco, Wonderforge, Thermos and Pirate’s Booty, will support the campaign with a merchandise program and promote the effort across their social media platforms. Broadcast, print and online advertising will back up the effort.

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The overall concept is to showcase what being a superhero is all about by encouraging the public to “Power Up Like a Marvel Super Hero,” Marvel said.

A new online portal, MarvelSuperheroSeptember, will serve as the central hub for the event, hosting content, activities and contests, while Marvel also will re-launch Marvelkids.com.

The marketing event, timed with the 75th anniversary of Marvel, was created by Disney Consumer Products and Marvel.

Organizers saw September as period during which they could excite its partners around launching promotions around other Marvel-related releases, not just movies, like the return of ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD;” the launch of Marvel’s “Ultimate Spider-Man Web-Warriors” and the season two premiere of Marvel’s “Avengers Assemble” animated series; as well as the addition of the Marvel superheroes in the “Disney Infinity” game, available later this month; the homevideo release of the “Captain America” sequel; and of course the company’s comicbooks and extensive line of merchandise on store shelves.

“Marvel Super Hero September is giving us the opportunity to assemble some of the very best of our licensees and retailers to showcase the power and reach of the Marvel brand,” said Josh Silverman, executive VP, global licensing, Disney Consumer Products. “This stands as one of the largest non-film campaigns in Marvel history and we’re looking forward to seeing how kids, fans, parents, and adults will celebrate their passion for Marvel.”

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In addition to a national broadcast campaign that will kick off on Disney XD, Hasbro has developed in-theater ads that will spotlight its newest Marvel toys. Hasbro also will be featured in an ad with “The Winter Soldier” Blu-ray, DVD disc release.

Marvel also will run a print and online campaign that will appear in the college football and NFL preview issues of ESPN magazine and run on ESPNMagazine.com for the first two weeks of September, promoting Marvel’s interest in healthy living and active lifestyles for children.