Exclusive footage previews, pop-up activations, gender inclusive branding announcements, cool food marketing setups, an abundance of fan favorite TV and film celebs and a highly talked about Deadpool toilet seat cover can mean only one thing. The most anticipated pop-culture event of the Summer has wrapped for another year,
With such a wave of content and marketing stunts being thrown at audiences, whether to those experiencing first hand or vehemently following along digitally, we question if this year’s event succeeded in capturing the imagination of the nation? Over at Upper Diamond, we’ve been keeping our finger on the pulse of #SDCC and have identified a few personal favorites and slight failures of this years Comic-Con offerings.
This year’s festival had some major action, and by action we mean crazy, action-packed movie trailers and pop-ups that could practically scare you to death. These are some of our favorites that well serve our interest in video production, creative marketing styles and branding strategies.
TOP 3 TRAILERS
- Glass: 7,997,838 views: A psychological twist on superheroes and supervillains. M. Night Shyamalan is back with a trailer so creepy, and engaging, audiences are seriously buzzing about this upcoming release.
- AquaMan: 27,032,243 views: Batman, who? That’s right, AquaMan took over at this year’s event. The amazing cinematography, interesting storyline and great cast is more than enough to get us hyped.
- Shazam: 9,486,949 views: Something new, classic, and hilarious. Shazam puts a humorous spin on the origin of a superhero. We are always one to appreciate a story that differentiates itself from the bunch.
- Taco Bell: The fast food chain decided to attract social media fans and foodies, and transformed a local steakhouse into a taco bell that looks straight out of a classic, Sylvester Stallone film, as promotion for Demolition Man. It’s easy to create stale and out-of-date marketing strategies. But the franchise gave us a fresh, innovative, and fun brand experience; and we know a little bit about that.
- Purge City: In honor of the upcoming adaptation of the film series, The Purge, the franchise produced an anarchist themed and Party City inspired pop-up store, “Purge City”. The store was stocked with Purge related items, including t-shirts and accessories fans went crazy over. What better way to get people to buy merchandise than in an interactive store experience?
- Castle Rock Bed and Breakfast: Hulu pulls an odd marketing stunt by displaying a family van crashed into a fountain at a San Diego children’s park, and built a New England style bed and breakfast right across the street. All was done to promote Stephen King’s new horror series, Castle Rock.
#METOO TREND. We are all in when it comes to women empowerment and gender inclusiveness
- First Ever Female Doctor Who: How is it that after over 50 years of inter-dimensional travel and sonic screwdrivers, we have not had a female doctor, until now? Jodie Whittaker is playing the 13th doctor in the upcoming season of Doctor Who and we are all about inclusive representation in media.
- LGBTQ Superheroes: Well, it’s about time. Women are taking the screens in the DC and Marvel Universe. Deadpool and Supergirl franchise are representing the LGBTQ community in their upcoming projects.
Jack Ryan VR game:Amazon Prime setup a virtual reality experience for players to experience two adventures from a “Black Ops” escape room to a three-story high VR “training course”. We also have a cool experience working with VR and creating alternative experiences with Samsung and Lionsgate.
DC alternate Universe: We have experience with leveraging app technology to create an alternative experience with South By Southwest, just as DC compiled their series and movies into one app for their new streaming service and built walkthroughs for the SDCC goers.
PARTIES AND EVENTS
- EW Party: After hours of showcasing and hyping up new film and tv installations and greeting thousands of fans, EW and Marvel series celebrities decided to kickback and party at the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday Night. What a great way for creators and artists to connect! Why weren’t we invited?
- Ready Player One: Oasis Party: What’s more fun than a dystopian nightclub? Nothing. The Fluxx nightclub in downtown SD produced a virtual playground inspired by the OASIS world built by Ernest Cline’s Universe. Again, we are huge fans of turning alternate universes into reality.
- Rick and Morty: Silent Listening Party: Fans attended a secret event alongside the convention center. They were asked to put on headphones, character masks, and sit cross-legged on the grass. The Rick and Morty cast then appeared onto a panel, drunk, and improvised some weird scenarios. Sounds incredibly on-brand in our opinion.
- Deadpool and The Super Duper Band: The Deadpool marketing team never fails to impress us with the most hilarious and witty marketing campaigns and assets. And Deadpool has indeed done it again. Fans attended a concert featuring vintage animatronics of Deadpool and his Super Duper Band. What a weird, but genius way of promoting their special, home edition film cut, Deadpool 2 Super Duper $@%!#& Cut.
With winners there are losers, and although San Diego Comic-Con is one of the best conventions, it is no exception. Here’s a look into our personal marketing letdowns for the pop-culture event.
3 Not-so-Great TRAILERS
- Titans: 530,602 views: DC fans were disappointed by the first teaser trailer for the upcoming hero series. The content was a bit messy, confusing, and somewhat cheesy for our tastes. What are your thoughts?
- Predator: 18,100 views: A take from the classic 1986 Arnold Schwarzenegger film, this revamped predator is said to be different. But there’s something about the video production and story content that all seems somewhat low budget. But perhaps, you have a different opinion?
- The Purge TV Series: 15,015 views: What would you do if any crime was legal for 24 hours? We have heard this story before. 4 times to be exact. The theme is intriguing, but we want more content and more insight with what to expect in 10 episodes.
NO HBO? HBO did not make an appearance at this year’s convention. Which was incredibly disappointing for the die-hard Game of Thrones fans and Westworld geeks. It could have been a great opportunity for HBO and their franchises to connect with their fans and further market their stories. Or, on the flip side, perhaps a clever marketing trick to increase fan speculation…?
James Gunn Overshadows Galaxy: Guardians of the Galaxy is such a great franchise filled with awesome characters and heroes. Unfortunately, James Gunn’s firing for the third film upset the fans. The controversy not only overshadowed the Marvel presence at Comic-Con but bummed out the convention as a whole.
San Diego Comic Con was another huge fandom success, with over 130,000 attendees spending an estimated $87 million on lightsabers, comics, and thousands of cool merch. From superhero movies to horror tv series, we are in love with the awesome marketing activations fans were able to fully experience. However, there were some marketing strategies and presentations that could use some work. So what worked? Exciting cinematic trailers, creative digital and on-site marketing, and inclusive brand representation. What didn’t work? Confusing and off-brand content and lack of representation and presence. It’s not easy to take full advantage of such a large and fan-driven event, but these considerations can help you and your brand get the best exposure and experience.
DAVID SPITZER IS CEO OF UPPER DIAMOND, A LEARNING AND MARKETING FIRM. IF YOU WANT TO ENGAGE IN A CONVERSATION AROUND A CAMPAIGN OR STRATEGIZE YOUR NEXT MARKETING CAMPAIGN, WE’RE WILLING TO HELP YOU MAKE A PRINCIPLED STAND, LAUNCH A NEW PRODUCT OR SHARE A MOMENT. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT US AT WWW.UPPERDIAMOND.COM