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TokyoPop Hits the Road to Promote Manga

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Manga has hit hard times with sales down forcing layoffs in some the various companies that deal with the comic form.  TokyoPop is making moves to spread the word about Manga with a bus tour across America.  The TokyoPop Tour began in early July at the Los Angeles’s Anime Expo.  The tour ends in Chicago in August after hitting 28 cities in 54 days.

Steve Levy the CEO and COO of the company laid out why he’s making the trip:

The goals are simple: To reach out to fans nationwide to meet them and see how ‘otaku culture’ in America has evolved.

The tour is being taped with numerous updates chronicling the adventure.  The trip also includes six college students selected via audition, and an ongoing quest and contest to find “America’s Greatest Otaku.”

In a way this trip brings these comics full circle in their spread through American culture.  Manga has been an underground fascination for years and relied on word of mouth for fans to learn about the latest series or video and also the sellers to tell us the fans what we should buy.

In recent years the internet has allowed fandom to run rampant, making promotions lazy and instead rely on the pockets of the consumers to spread the word of what’s new.  With an economic collapse those pockets are empty leaving purchasing to shrivel and word of mouth to begin to flow slower.

A bus tour recreates the success of good grassroots word of mouth marketing getting the salesmen back to the streets to directly interact with their audience.  This is a lesson quite a few in the industry can learn from.

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