Having worked at two major media companies I know something about how difficult it is to get different divisions to work together. Synergy was the buzz word in my early days at NewsCorp owned 20th Century Fox International and seemed always more of a talking point than anything that was ever seriously implemented (at least back in the day). At Viacom's Paramount Pictures, divisions could certainly work with each other, assuming you'd pay something out of your budget to make it happen. Competitors always thought the studio had it easy with MTV, but unless it was an MTV Film or someone shouted from the top of the Viacom ladder, you weren't getting much help from the all important cable net. So, it's something of a surprise that after only one year, the Walt Disney Company has been able to integrate its Marvel properties so quickly into the entire operation.
A very well done "Avengers" TV show debuted on Disney XD last night and this week saw the debut of not just one, but two sets of Marvel Heroes inspired variant covers.
Marvel heroes will be "Tron-ized" in variety covers for "Amazing Spider-Man," "Avengers," "Captain America," "Invincible Iron Man," "Thor" and more beginning next month. You can see them all on Marvel.com, but a taste of Cap below (gotta love that shield).
More impressive, however, is the 31 different covers created by Marvel artists based on classic Marvel comics for the beginning of the 2010-11 NBA season. Each cover will be included in this months ESPN Magazine. It's unclear whether they will be real variant covers, but ESPN, the NBA and Marvel could make a nice penny if they sold them as posters. Here are a few of the HitFix staff's favorites. To see them all click here. Note the strange Grizzles cover. Seems a little odd,? Unfortunately, You can't see that the only Memphis player's name which is visible is Rudy Gay's. Don't ask, don't tell Cap. You figure it out.
Needless to say, all this cross-marketing proves Disney is serving notice to its competitors on just how to do synergy right in 2010.