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Trollbabe

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PostSubject: Elfquest marketing   Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:07 pm

This topic is somewhat related to the topic " So they've basically killed the Scroll of Colors forum..."

As an entrepreneur, I have read several books related to sales and marketing. (I haven't gotten into Public Relations yet.) I have begun to realize that, since its inception in 1978, Elfquest has had many opportunities to become, if not mainstream, a big pop culture sensation.

It could have become a cartoon short, if not a movie or cartoon series. There could have been more Elfquest merchandise, more consistently released, and more closely related (more Elfquest stationery to go with the Elfquest pencil.)

Somebody at WaRP could have seriously learned from the Scroll of Colors community, instead of writing us off as squatters. WaRP could have taken advantage of the power of direct mail, instead of abandoning it for electronic media, and then focusing on social media, to the exclusion of other forms of communication.

Elfquest, to me, is an artistic success, but I never understood its marketing angle. Even now, if I search Google News for "elfquest" or "Richard Pini", I see no articles outside of comics and entertainment trade publications. If it's not mainstream, at least the mainstream world should have heard of it.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sat Oct 10, 2015 12:50 pm

Maybe that is one of the many mistakes or burned bridges that the Pinis made in the early years of elfquest. Now no one wants to play with them.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sat Oct 10, 2015 1:12 pm

I think the era of direct mail as a successful marketing tool, except for some rare exceptions, is over.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sat Oct 10, 2015 4:55 pm

There could have been a cartoon series had TV executives not been so insistent in believing Suntop had to be a tough boy and Ember a girly-girl, and that Leetah's hands-on healing would offend religious types. Wendy and Richard weren't pleased with those mindsets.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:09 pm

I meant to post this in "off topics", accidently started it here, hope it doesn't cause confusion.

@Lunakat wrote:
I think the era of direct mail as a successful marketing tool, except for some rare exceptions, is over.

So I've heard, but the copy writing authors I follow strongly claim that junk mail is still a major force in advertising. As a marketing strategy, it's easy to test one's results.

GOlden mentioned burnt bridges - I have't kept up with that, except for the recent controversy that somehow led to closing the Scroll of Colors. I don't see any effort being made to contact me after my original series subscription ran out. Had I not ended up with a job near a comic shop, I might have forgotten about Elfquest altogether.

Multi-Facets mentioned the Saturday morning cartoon proposal, which I believe was made to one of the major free networks. I think Elfquest might have fit in well with the Cartoon Network channel, perhaps as part of their 1990s "What a Cartoon" series. It could also have been launched as YouTube series. An Elfquest movie could have been a direct-to-video project.

Look up the words "lady gaga marketing genius", and you will see a list of articles on the subject. Lady Gaga connects with her fans, whom she calls "little monsters", and shows affection and gratitude toward them. She builds upon her relationship with her hardcore fan base. (I assume that these people can be identified, at least in part, by such data as credit card transactions, e-mail and social media connections, phone numbers and mailing addresses.)

As Lady Gaga is in show business, she says and does things that are appropriate for her industry, that would not apply to comics. But she grabs attention and maintains fan loyalty in ways that any industry could imitate.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sat Oct 10, 2015 9:35 pm

Keep in mind though that Lady Gaga has a whole marketing team behind her- whereas the Punis are only two people. I do remember reading somewhere that they did almost land a cartoon series in the 1980s-- but that the network wanted to change some major aspects of the story (like making Leetah, Suntop and Ember white) so the Pinis pulled out. At the same time, I have also heard rumors that they were difficult to work with-- so who knows? I would take it all with a grain of salt.

I'm pretty sure they have someone else handling their social media -- and it's much better than it was before. Yes, I think they mishandle the forum. But I'm also biased.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:14 pm

I really believe the Pinis could have had a whole marketing team behind them by now. I know I'm not one to criticize, not being a superstar myself. But Elfquest was already licensed to Marvel in reprints in 1986, the year Lady Gaga was born.

Matt Groening self-published "Life in Hell" in 1977, ten years before crudely drawn episodes of "The Simpsons" first appeared in 1987. "The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" were published independently in 1984. Grumpy Cat is just a deformed kitten, born in 2012. How is it that all of these properties caught on and stayed popular?

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:52 pm

YouTube could be a great medium for the Pinis. Sadly I don't see them attempting anything there. They could easily make their own cartoons as they see fit with the new technology. So many animated movies are now done solely using a computer. That would introduce Elfquest to a whole new generation and attract new readers.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:30 pm

I'm not so sure they could *easily* make cartoons, actually. Wendy would have to learn Flash or some kind of animation software, and it would probably take a long time to become proficient.
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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:06 am

Judging by her mastery of Photoshop...

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:20 am

@Miss Gillespie wrote:
Judging by her mastery of Photoshop...

Well exactly Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:40 am

Nothing is easy.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 3:52 am

@Multi-Facets wrote:
There could have been a cartoon series had TV executives not been so insistent in believing Suntop had to be a tough boy and Ember a girly-girl, and that Leetah's hands-on healing would offend religious types. Wendy and Richard weren't pleased with those mindsets.

Yeah... just imagine how that talk in OQ6 would've played out:

Cutter: I always imagined a son of mine would take after old Bearclaw, and look, he did! Suntop will be chief of the Wolfriders one day while Ember...

Ember: I'll be what I'll be.

Doesn't have quite the same ring to it...

Wonder how those TV executives felt about the Redlance-Nightfall dynamic. They'd probably have had to have their personalities swapped as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 5:26 am

(I dunno, I probably should keep my yap shut, but this strikes a chord with me. Feel free to ignore.)

Seeing what Wendy has attempted in the past for animation and branching out into different mediums, its no wonder there hasnt been a cartoon produced, and unless they learn to let go a little (a little at least, and not such a white knuckle handling as in the past), IMO there will never be an official animation while they are in the driver's seat. We have all seen Leetah Dancing, and I remember the attempt at a 3D Cutter... You might see another live action attempt by fans, there is always the chance some "renegade" film studio (like what Lion's Gate used to be) picking it up and doing something with it, but WP has her key format she excels in, if she can find her way back to it, and, IMO, that format is good old fashioned static, epic, comics.. hand drawn, with a real feel for the story.

Personally, after studying animation and seeing bits and pieces of WP's workflow (admittantly, mostly inferred and spotty at that), and given her age, I think the kind of quantum leap she would need to make to do animation herself is not likely to happen. Not unless she learns to listen and collaborate.

That said, I "get" why they are so stubbornly independent, and in the past I have celebrated their strength in holding to what they believed was the right path, even when it wasnt easy. Since 2000ish, though, its been trendy, on and off, to be "independant", and I think they missed out on some opportunities to be themselves and gain great success in the recent past.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:15 am

In my Troll (opposite of humble) opinion...

The future of Elfquest was never in the hands of movie or TV executives, mainstream publishers, trade journals, conventions, merchandisers or any other business.

The future of Elfquest was in the hands of die-hard Elfquest fans - that ten or twenty percent of fans who either read Elfquest for thirty years or more, or grew up reading Elfquest, or went on Ebay to buy every Elfquest collectible they could afford, or debated endlessly in Scroll of Colors about story elements and characters, or seriously saw the Elfquest movie as something that would happen, that they could help make happen.

Take Jimmy Buffet as another example of a rock star who understands his fans, and gives them what they want.  He saw that the Grateful Dead had "Deadheads", he saw his fans wearing parrot hats, and he named them "Parrot-heads."

I always liked Jimmy Buffet's music.  If you have heard him sing a duet with another artist, in which he sings one verse and someone else sings the next, it may strike you that his voice is not spectacular, maybe a bit nasal.  He was in the industry for ten years before he recorded his first hit, and thirty years before he won a music award.  His biggest hits are over fifteen years old. But he works magic with his fans.

Buffet turns seventy next year, and still tours.  You can visit Margaritaville and Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurants, shop at Margaritaville stores, visit the Margaritaville casino, wear Parrothead clothing, support the Paradise Foundation. and read Jimmy Buffet storybooks to your kids.  I went to a discount store last week and bought Margaritaville powdered drink mix to take to work.

In a late September post in buffetnews.com, Buffet said he never got tired of playing the same songs every night.  "... there are certain songs you play every night or get killed. It’s about listening to your audience.”

He says of the recording industry, “The contracts are not set up for the artist... They count on the passion of the musician and the tendency to destroy yourself at an young age.”

That’s why he left the “industry” and established his own way of doing business.  "I didn’t have to depend on the kindness of crooks... Work for yourself so you can be yourself.”

That's the Jimmy Buffet formula for success:  Work for yourself, and listen to your fans.

I really don't believe that independent, highly successful artists in any field do everything themselves.  Has anyone read "The Four-Hour Workweek", or "The 80/20 Principle"?  Tackle the creative work yourself, and outsource everything else, from mowing lawns to fetching doughnuts.  Wendy Pini should not have to animate anything herself - there is plenty of independent talent out there.

Thanks for putting up with my ramblings.  I have read up through "Final Quest #10", and I have to go to my favorite comic store and pick up the next one.  Yes, I could order it online.  But I would rather enjoy the experience of visiting my favorite comic store, where the clerk treats me well, where the environment is familiar and inspiring, and where I feel as though I am special.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:08 am

Honestly, I agree with you guys, it's a combination of not wanting to let go of their vision, and also being unable to work well with others.
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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:55 am

Maybe it's bitterness... I just feel as though my opinion never mattered that much to WaRP.

When they closed the forum, they posted, "In balance, to keep things manageable, we’ve retired the forum. Existing threads are archived as read-only, accessible to all for reference purposes."

Translation:  We're shutting down this gold mine of hard-core fan feedback, because we just don't feel like committing any labor toward managing it.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:11 pm

Actually, I don't have a lot of fan/creator interaction experience. I eventually got so appalled by the way Richard Pini was acting towards Lunakat(and suspicious of how posts kept appearing and disappearing) that I started screen capping the convo. Then, after the forum got shut down, I showed them to the BFF, to see what he thought.

His basic reaction was that the Pinis shouldn't be running a cheeseshop, let alone a fan forum.
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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:51 pm

@Trollbabe wrote:
I meant to post this in "off topics", accidently started it here, hope it doesn't cause confusion.
 Moved  Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:24 pm

(Glad you have a comic shop like that Trollbabe, we sort of have one 30 miles away, the local one needs replaced.)

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 3:57 pm

Thank you, Nibblet!

I'm glad my comic shop is still in business.  It was the life's work of a couple who began with a flea market table in the seventies.  The husband passed away two years ago, after a brief illness.  His wife still runs the shop.

(His passing goes on record as the first time I have ever heard the Darth Vader theme played at a funeral.  I don't think anyone else in the cemetery had the Bat Signal on their headstone either.)

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:31 pm

That's really sweet, Nibblet!

@kathleen3.0 wrote:
Actually, I don't have a lot of fan/creator interaction experience. I eventually got so appalled by the way Richard Pini was acting towards Lunakat(and suspicious of how posts kept appearing and disappearing) that I started screen capping the convo. Then, after the forum got shut down, I showed them to the BFF, to see what he thought.

His basic reaction was that the Pinis shouldn't be running a cheeseshop, let alone a fan forum.

What I don't get is why they were involving themselves in those conversations at all. It was just counter productive. You aren't' going to be able to control other people's opinions. The most they could hope to do was strong-arm everyone into discontinuing the discussion. But... it would have blown over anyway. Those kinds of things always did. I think we had even moved on from it when Richard brought it up again. If he hadn't done that, it would have ended up buried under layers of subsequent comments.

Trollbabe said that she didn't feel the Pinis cared about her opinion. Honestly, I don't think they were required to care about our opinions. It was their creation and their vision. They put in the years of work, not us. But then, if you don't care what people think-- why are you engaging in discussion with them? If you are going to engage and provide a platform for discussion-- you have to respect that people are going to share their thoughts-- not just laud you.

I think, in the end, they did care what we thought-- because they felt compelled to read it. They were unhappy with what was being expressed-- and probably felt that negative comments or general disagreement with Richard shouldn't be showing up on their main website. So, in what I'm guessing was a fit of indignation, they shut it down. Now they do have what they really wanted-- people exclusively lauding them ... on Facebook.

Forums can't be creator run or managed. You know-- i do kind of hang out in really geeky circles, and I'm an artist. Most of my friends have booths at the various conventions. Some are artists for Disney and Pixar. Some make comics. I've met the Pinis a few times, and I've met other comic book artists and writers whose works I love. Most of them have told me (not the Pinis because I never asked them about it for obvious reasons) that they don't read forums, and they don't read what fans write about them. One artist who I sort of hero worshio said he didn't read that feedback because it would sometimes be negative and hurt his feelings-- and them inhibit him from creating what he wanted to create. He said it was better to realize his vision-- and then take any critiques into consideration moving forward. Really sweet guy.

It's better this way. It's just unfortunate that the way Richard handled it left everyone with bad taste in their mouth. He didn't have to do it like that. People skills... you know?

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:36 pm

Maybe the Pinis should have had a publicist to handle the Forum. Do they post their own comments on Facebook, or does someone else handle that? The current Elfquest home page feed seems to be eliciting praise for all things Elfquest.

I know people posted negative comments about their artwork and writing on the Scroll of Colors. I think you have a good point about artists and writers not taking creative feedback from their fans. A better source of criticism is other artists or writers, through a writers' group. Personally, I don't have anything negative to say, except that some recent sequences have been drawn-out or dull.

It just seems as though the Elfquest website became an afterthought, from about the time that the Masque project started, to the point when everything went to Facebook. There wasn't really an effort to engage SOC fans or readers, inspire us to recruit other fans, ask our opinion as to how to make Elfquest more popular, and make us feel that we were the driving force behind Elfquest's success.

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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:55 pm

But we weren't the driving force behind Elfquest's success. The driving force was Wendy Pini's blood, sweat and tears. We were the cheering fans on the sidelines.

I don't think they needed a publicist. I think they just shouldn't have done more than glance at the forum from time to time and maybe jump in once or twice for fun. But to jump into arguments wasn't a good idea. There were enough people singing there praises there to balance everything out.

If I were to guess... I would think they post some of their own comments on Facebook (when they start a remark with "Wendy here" or "Richard here") but that most of the time they probably have someone like Rob or Heather just making posts to keep people interested and engaged. I don't think Wendy has time to scour the web for fanart and old interviews.


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PostSubject: Re: Elfquest marketing   Sun Oct 11, 2015 11:18 pm

well, I dunno what if it matters, Lunakat, but the BFF thought you came off really well in the whole situation.
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