For a new boys’ comic, Action‘s launch was a big budget affair which, in addition to advertising in other printed media, included local radio and national television spots. However, the easiest and cheapest means of hitting the target audience was to place inserts into other IPC publications.
Unlike later campaigns, for comics such as 2000AD and Starlord, the Action inserts were an additional four pages stapled between the centre pages of the hosting comic, which meant that the page count of the comic was not reduced that week. The 2000AD campaign seen in a later issue of Action replaced the title’s regular editorial content, and therefore cost IPC almost nothing to produce. In addition, both 2000AD and Starlord were given 30 second TV spots. The four pink pages included here are taken from the 7th February edition of Buster.
The inserts were followed by an in-house ad campaign which covered the first five issues. The ads ran in most IPC comics until mid-March of 1976, taking half a page of free space which would normally be reserved for editorial content or commercial advertising.
The five house ads included on this page are taken from February and March issues of Valiant.
Five weeks was considered to be sufficient time for a new title to have found its audience, and from that point, in-house advertising was normally reserved for landmark editions, major new stories or Summer Specials and Annuals. Sadly, as the British comics market contracted, IPC titles were reduced to handing over space almost begging readers to place a regular order with their newsagent, and perhaps getting a friend to place one as well. The sight of Johnny Red and Falcon Squadron leaving their aircraft and asking the reader to fill in a coupon if they wanted to see more of the story was an embarrassing but all too regular feature of the mid 1980s.