Street marketing is tough. You have to grab a person's attention, get something in their head or their hands, and most importantly, get them to remember what you are pitching for more than three seconds. Tough. But try getting attention when you are standing next to a Stormtrooper Elvis, the Henchmen from The Venture Bros., and more than a few geek girls sporting copious amounts of geek cleavage. Not to mention the perennial Greenpeacers, coupon slingers and 120,000 geeks who have spent their lives calling bullshit on the inauthentic.
Walking on the streets of San Diego, there they were: street teamers pitching everything from web comics to blockbusters. Most of it was immediately tossed into the trash heap of the mind as quickly as it was stuffed into the next waiting trash bin, but five stood out.
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Garlic Bread Truck
There's nothing more refreshing after a long day of walking the convention floor than a steaming slice of garlic bread. Yet, people lined up outside the Scott Pilgrim garlic bread truck Iike it was a Felicia Day cop-a-feel booth. The truck parked in prime real estate across the street from the convention and the ten stories-high pic of Michael Cera jamming out on a bass guitar. There were also more people wearing the giveaway Pilgrim t-shirts than any other freebie throughout the show. Lots of money spent, for sure, but Pilgrim was omnipresent.
4. The Event
On the surface, it sounds lame. Five guys decked in secret service garb, standing pin straight, holding manila envelopes with “confidential information,” printed in black. They didn't hand out the envelopes– you had to ask for them– and they didn't give them up easily, explaining that is was “highly sensitive” and “dangerous” material. But people ate it up. Once they got their prize, they opened it to find a government-looking document with redacted passages detailing the escape of an inmate from a detainment facility. The blacked out parts drew you in, and googling the keywords delivered you to www.theeventiscoming.com. You've got engagement. It turns out to be a show from NBC, called The Event, created by Nick Wauters. My one complaint–they should have done some SEO, as the Google searches presented Google ad words, but no organic results.
Tightly packed soap bubbles in the shape of human bodies were shot into the air, in front of a giant billboard. Sounds simple, but the effect of this promotion was chilling. I would have liked to see more street teamers spotting people looking into the sky and whispering something about what its all about– a new Universal movie about people getting sucked up into the air by aliens and the battle of the survivors vs. the invaders– but it was freaky.
2. The Kenny Powers, Panty Dropper Giveaway (EastBound and Down)
A simple tabbed flyer, with the headline “The Panty Dropper Could Yours.”
No mention of the show, just direction to the Kenny Powers website. Coupled with fantastic Eastbound and Down caps backed with curly mullets, handed out by street teamers in #55 jerseys, and an excellent message was sent–Kenny Powers is back, and you're fucking out.
1. Dexter's Scavenger Hunt, Face Tattoos and Kill Room
Every attendee had Dexter wrapped around their necks, as each lanyard pimped Dexter and a clever scavenger hunt, Dexter: Game On. Street teamers handed out blood slice tattoos, so you could look like one of the hero's victims seconds before checking out. Using the SCVNGR iPhone/Android app, Dexter sent fans on a series of quests around the convention center to earn prizes and gain access to Dexter's Kill Room, where actor Michael C. Hall would actually kill and dismember truly hardcore fans of the show. That last part is a lie, but the kill room was real. A lot of companies spend a lot of money on Comic-Con, but Showtime's SVP of Digital, Robert Hayes spent wisely with Chief Ninja of SCVNGR, Seth Priebatsch–and there are thousands of pics of Dexter victims on Flickr to prove it.
Check out photos from San Diego Comic-Con International in the following galleries: