For a Close Shave, It’s Captain America to the Rescue?

Kiehls Comic Book CoverWhy is there a Captain America comic book inside my Wall Street Journal?

That’s what I wanted to know last week.

The answer:  Kiehl’s, the self-proclaimed “purveyors of the finest skin care” products, wants to boost sales with men.

So they targeted WSJ readers in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco on June 6th with a high-quality Marvel custom edition insert.  It caught my attention for marketing investigation purposes.

Call it content marketing, branded content or co-branding.  The “comic book” features a Captain America cover and 12-page custom comic book story, plus seven more pages of men’s skincare advertising from Kiehl’s, who claim they don’t advertise.

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I understand the marketing logic for high-end grooming products targeted to men who read The Wall Street Journal.  The newspaper has frequent ads for premium-priced products, including for men.

It’s hard to explain the comic book connection, though. Continue reading