“Is It a Camel? Is It a Turban? No, It’s The 99”: Marketing Islamic Superheroes as Global Cultural Commodities
The Postcolonial Research Group, Fall 2012 Presentation Monday, November 12, 2012 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM BAL 9024
"Is It a Camel? Is It a Turban? No, It's The 99": Marketing Islamic Superheroes as Global Cultural Commodities
Dr. Avi Santo, of the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts.
Since its debut as a comic book in 2006, Kuwait-based Teshkeel Media Group's The 99, billed as the world's first Islamic superhero team, has developed into a transnational cross-media brand, with theme-park tie-ins, merchandising, and an animated series sold to the US and nearly a dozen other countries around the world. Developing a global Muslim Superhero media brand as required Teshkeel to construct and position The 99's brand attributes and its imagined/ideal consumer in ways that both engage and elide fears of cultural indoctrination and homogenization felt by both anti-Western and anti-Islam critics. This paper investigates how Teshkeel has gone about the business of extending and managing The 99 media brand by analyzing company interviews, press releases and marketing materials that have been both proactive and reactive in constructing the brand's cultural value for new, and often, hostile markets