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A History Of Advertising In The Beano

The Beano is a popular British comic, published by Dundee-based D.C.Thomson since July 1938. For the first 50 or so years of its existence the only advertising featured in the comic was for other D.C.Thomson publications and products, particularly it's other similar comics, such as The Dandy, The Beezer and The Topper. Nowadays, sadly, The Beano and it's spin off, BeanoMAX, are D.C.Thomson's only comic publications of this kind in physical format, with the only other remaining similar title, The Dandy, in digital only format. The Beano's 2402nd issue, dated 30th July 1988, was a special edition to mark the comic's 50th birthday, it was also the issue chosen to debut an increase in the size of the comic, more colour pages, a better printing process, and better paper. The improved quality product no doubt cost more to produce, but a price rise had to be kept to a minimum, due to D.C.Thomson's chairman, Brian Thomson's, insistence that The Beano must remain a pocket-money buy, so this is the likely reason why issue 2407, dated 3rd September 1988, saw the first paid-for advertisement (for Tesco's Olympic Challenge) in the Beano, and also an increase in pagination, from 20 to 24 pages.
In the 80s, and into the 90s, many of the advertisements were being drawn by The Beano's artists, and many were in the form of special comic strips devised for the product being advertised. Later as time went by, and the comic evolved to full colour and increasingly improved printing processes and materials, advertisements became far more likely to be merely photographic rather than the truly creative and artistic comic-style advertisements that had gone before. In addition legislation has been passed in more recent timess that has restricted what can be advertised to children, and in what way, so the products being advertised to children have changed over the years, with the legislation, but also with the changing children's fashions and with a new generation of increasingly sophisticated and technologically aware children.
This article, then, is, in part, a sort of social study into what was being advertised to children in the Beano over the years, and into the forms of advertisement being used. I do not own every issue of The Beano since September 1988, but I do have a substantial enough number of them to produce an interesting cross section of advertisements, which I will list by year. I may at some stage add some scans of the most interesting examples, which will probably be mostly of the earlier comic strip examples.

1989 advertisements:

Page Last Updated - 27/02/2014
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