‘We outsell the Beatles and Elvis put together’: Kiss’ Gene Simmons makes no apologies for merchandising

From a 1977 Marvel comic that presented the band as superheroes to a new line of make-up festooned Hello Kitty items, Kiss has perfected a merchandising aesthetic across successive generations.

And anyone who questions founder Gene Simmons, who spearheads those efforts, won’t receive any apologies.

“Kiss outperforms, we outsell the Beatles and Elvis put together,” Simmons tells World Screen in this clip. “We have 4,800 licenses, everything from Kiss condoms to Kiss caskets. All together now: We’ll get you coming, and we’ll get you going.”

Action figures and a pinball machine followed the comic, in 1978. There have also been trading cards, board games, lighters, toy guitars and a Visa card, among countless other items. The Kiss Kasket began production in 2001. Kiss Kondoms followed introduced in 2002.

BrandWeek magazine’s Sandra O’Loughlin has estimated that Kiss is now a nearly $1 billion brand.

[amazon_enhanced asin="B00EDEHAEI" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B007GJV994" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B00CMO0GNI" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B006LR7M70" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /] [amazon_enhanced asin="B00005B70X" container="" container_class="" price="All" background_color="FFFFFF" link_color="000000" text_color="0000FF" /]

Something Else!

The Something Else! Reviews webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, is syndicated through Bing News, Topix and AllAboutJazz.com. The site has been featured in The New York Times, NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, the NoDepression.com Americana site, Popdose.com and JazzTimes, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com, Rock.com, Blues Revue Magazine and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
  • Camille

    but you’re still a jackass Mr Simmons

  • Jaime B. Urroz

    That statement, however valid when it was actually made, only proves right Andy Warhol’s statement about everyone having, in their lives, at least 15 minutes of fame. And KISS wasn’t the only band, or performer, to have done just that, oursell the Beatles and Elvis, yes, combined, at a given point in time, in the last 60 years. Elton John, Garth Brooks, Eminem, Michael Jackson, and those just come to mind, all did that, in different periods. But, as of this date, KISS’s official record sales tallies with the RIAA, in the US (20 million albums vs over 300 million for the Beatles and Elvis), or even counting Soundscan (less than 10 million vs 100 million for the Beatles and Elvis ) when put together come to about one tenth, yes, one tenth, of those of Elvis and the Beatles combined….

    • Nick DeRiso

      The quote – and, in fact, the whole item – refers to merchandising, not record sales.