San Diego Comic-Con Recap – Building Buzz at Comic-Con
While a San Diego Comic-Con panel is a great way to introduce the world to your new movie or create buzz about a TV show premiering in the fall, the marketing push isn’t just limited to the Convention Center. Instead, the entire city of San Diego is up for grabs with everyone trying to capture the attention of attendees and of their Twitter accounts. A successful campaign at Comic-Con always integrates in a unique off-site experience with social networking, acknowledging the important cultural role that nerd culture plays online.
This year was no exception but several campaigns stood out amongst the crowds and managed to leave a mark on attendees:
1. Adventure Time at the Children’s Museum
When I attended SDCC for my first time, I was not familiar with Adventure Time but was bombarded with themed parades, great giveaways, and an enthusiasm about the show that was infectious. By the time I left the convention, I was curious about the show and did later give it a chance.
Since then it has become a weekly favorite for my household and, coming into SDCC 2012, I was curious to see how they would ever top the experience of seeing a Lady Rainicorn parade dancing through the streets of the Gaslamp District. But Cartoon Network managed to build excitement for the show for new viewers while providing a unique experience to visiting fans.
Taking over the San Diego Children’s Museum, Cartoon Network provided an interactive and immersive exhibit based around two characters from the show, The Door Lord and the Key-per. Speaking to the popularity of the show, this exhibit that combined art from the show, fan-art, and riddles, had a long line the entire weekend and surely gathered new viewers post-Convention.
2. Coma on A&E
For many television shows and mini series, SDCC proves a great launching ground to build a fanbase while encouraging everyone to write about it via social networking. However, very little stood out as much as the actors and actresses hired to promote the new miniseries Coma. Outside of a large interactive off-site exhibit, Convention attendees were confronted by “coma” victims in a key thru-way. Wandering through the crowds in hospital gowns with IV stands, asking for help from the crowd; they were both creepy and impossible to avoid. Plus, they never broke character, which was even scarier in the beautiful San Diego Weather.
3. Grimm on NBC
Like Adventure Time, I was first introduced to the show Grimm during SDCC 11, but my first exposure came during a panel about Genre Television show favorites. While initial clips of the show did grab my interest, like many nerds, I didn’t have high hopes due to its timeslot. I had planned to enjoy the first sets of episodes before it joined Firefly, Dollhouse, and The Sarah Connor Chronicles on the list of shows that departed too quickly from Friday night. But speaking to the power of the community, Grimm didn’t fail in its time-slot and instead became one of the unexpected hits of the year.
This year, Grimm came to SDCC ready to make an impact demonstrated by the long line that constantly streamed from its offsite venue. Bringing in a replica of the Airstream trailer used during the show and combining it with free Grimm related make-up artists, their off-site appealed to fans who got an inside look at props from the show and to new viewers who couldn’t help but notice the beautiful Northwest-inspired setting.
4. The Walking Dead Experience
Added to my list of for SDCC 2013 is hopefully a visit to one of the most unique experiences offered during SDCC 2012. Taking over Petco Park and inspired by The Walking Dead, a zombie-themed obstacle course was set up for ticketed participants. While you could choose to just be a viewer, The Walking Dead Experience also offered the chance to be a human escaping the zombie apocalypse or a make-upped zombie setting out to infect as many humans as possible. Everyone who did get the chance to participate spoke highly of the experience and despite my honest fear of being chased (especially by zombies), I think it might be a great opportunity for me to overcome it if they decide a second year at the Convention.
5. Vita Coco
Nerds love coconut water and Vita Coco handed out full containers which were perfect refreshment post Convention Hall march.