Bonfire Agency Launches CBLDF’s First Consumer Advertising Campaign

With the recent announcement of CBLDF’s Canada Customs Case, CBLDF gained a valuable new partner in the fight for Free Speech: Bonfire Agency. Bonfire, a firm specializing in pop culture marketing, took on the heady task of helping CBLDF reach out to supporters with the first consumer advertising campaign in CBLDF’s history.

To support CBLDF’s defense of free speech, you can make a donation or become a member. Thanks to Bonfire, you can also run print ads, post a banner on your website, or provide an informative pamphlet to your customers. Download the print ad here. You can also download several sizes of animated or flat banners: 160 x 600 banner (swf or gif), 300 x 250 banner (swf or gif), or 728 x 90 banner (swf or gif). Finally, the pamphlet is available for download here.

The official press release from Bonfire Agency:

New York, NY  (June 27, 2011)  Pop culture marketing firm, Bonfire Agency LLC, today debuted consumer advertising to aid the efforts of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the organization’s support of the legal defense of an American citizen facing criminal charges in Canada for bringing comics into the country on his laptop. This incident is the most serious in a trend the CBLDF has been tracking involving the search and seizure of print and electronic comic books carried by travelers crossing borders.

The ad, the first in a series to be created by Bonfire pro bono on behalf of the Fund, seeks to tangibly illustrate what at times can be an abstract concept – the denial of one’s First Amendment rights and the confiscation of comic art material.

“We felt that the image of a comic book in a briefcase stopped on an x-ray conveyor belt, together with the headline ‘They’re Not Just Looking for Bombs Anymore’ summed up the situation very succinctly and powerfully,” said Steve Rotterdam, co-founder of Bonfire, who also served as the ad’s copywriter. Creative director Oscar Gonzalez developed the visual concept for the campaign.

“We tested creative concepts with casual and hardcore comics readers that are members of our proprietary ‘FanPan’ consumer panel,” said Ed Catto, Bonfire’s other co-founder.  “When we showed them this execution, the responses fell into two camps: ‘Are you kidding me?’ and ‘Are you friggin’ kidding me?,’ except that a word other than ‘friggin’’ was used. That’s the kind of reaction that translates into donations.”

“We’re tremendously grateful to have Bonfire helping us spread the word about this extremely important case,” said Charles Brownstein, Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. “This case has serious implications not only for this one individual and our core mission of protecting the free expression rights of comic books; it also intersects with areas involving the rights of travelers and rights in the digital space.  We think Bonfire’s first work for the CBLDF reflects this seriousness in a way that involves every comics reader in this issue, and helps advance our mission in a vibrant new way.”

Beginning in late July, the print ads will run as public service announcements in the comics of the majority of comic book publishers.  A series of banner ads have also been created to run on comics news sites, publisher websites, blog sites and other fan destinations.

“I was blown away to learn that the CBLDF had never advertised to potential members and contributors in the most likely place to find them – comic books themselves,” added Rotterdam, the former Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for DC Comics.  “When Ed and I formed our agency, we were determined to help change that.”

About the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1986 as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of First Amendment rights for members of the comics community. They have defended dozens of Free Expression cases in courts across the United States, and led important education initiatives promoting comics literacy and free expression. For additional information, donations, and other inquiries call 800-99-CBLDF or visit them online at

About Bonfire Agency LLC:

Bonfire Agency LLC is the marketing community’s first advertising and promotional agency specializing in helping brands reach and deepen connections with highly influential, but difficult to engage, pop culture consumers. This demo, labeled by some as geek or comic culture, is comprised of incredibly passionate, tribe-wired fans of everything from comic books, video games and action films to underground music, sci-fi inspired television and cutting edge adult comedy. Bonfire’s mission is to find ways to build relevant bridges between brands and a diverse audience of consumers that just might become their most effective advocates.  The agency was founded in January 2011 by marketing veterans and pop culture specialists Steve Rotterdam (former Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at TimeWarner’s DC Comics) and Ed Catto (former Senior Vice President at Ogilvy and Reed Exhibitions). For more information, visit

CBLDF is grateful to Bonfire for creating the campaign, which will help CBLDF’s efforts to raise the money needed to defend an American from prosecution in Canada for the comics he carried on his laptop. You can help spread the word by downloading ads and banners from Bonfire’s campaign here.

Support CBLDF’s defense of free speech by making a donation or becoming a member today!