We live in a world where everyone is eager to #engage with #brands, but it can be difficult to tell if the resulting #conversation is #authentic. For instance: this week, the syndicated comic strip Marvin has been featuring its own versions of the lovable Minion characters from the successful Despicable Me franchise. In order to find out if this represents true #engagement or just paid-for corporate #synergy, we need to do a little sleuthing!
- Marvin is syndicated by King Features, which is owned by the Hearst Corporation, which is privately held by a trust created by William Randolph Hearst himself.
- Despicable Me and its sequels and spinoffs (including Minions, headed to theaters on July 10!), is distributed by Universal Pictures, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, which is in turn a subsidiary of the publicly traded Comcast Corporation.
Now, although the Hearst Television subsidiary does own several local NBC affiliates and has some joint television production ventures with NBCUniversal Television Distribution, the two parent companies are not significantly entangled, and so it seems unlikely that this week’s Marvin strips represent corporate-directed buzz-building. Thus, we can enjoy them for what they are: just some wacky jokes using someone else’s characters to make the point that Marvin is a huge dick.
“Why is nothing ever easy?” The cry … of a hero!