With another record-breaking attendance of more than 167,000 at the Javits Center, I’m going to say it here: in terms of cultural, advertising, and marketing impact, New York ComicCon will soon be compared to Burning Man. If you aren’t already an entrepreneur, you’d be pretty hard pressed to not become one after attending NYCC. What’s more compelling than access to an unlimited blank slate, with countless industry professionals to show you the way? Maybe fear of the unknown for starters.
After attending my 9th consecutive Con, I’ve heard every excuse imaginable from colleagues and friends about why they are wary to attend. Plain and simple: if you think an event with this much draw and media attention is solely for the world of comic books, then I have some magic beans to sell you. Think of it like this: you’re attending an incredibly fun party, and you get the added bonus of some amazing business networking opportunities, plus truly innovative marketing executions. And the exclusives! It’s great to see something weeks or months before the rest of the world gets their hands on it.
Certain brands have been recognizing the call for years, and now that attendance has officially surpassed that of the San Diego convention, it’s fertile ground for brands to try something new and reach new audiences. I’ve noticed some unexpected brands really taking advantages of the unique opportunities at NYCC. There were many, but Progressive Auto Insurance is one that comes to mind. A car insurance company advertising at NYCC? Even though most of the attendees drive, this struck me as odd. But once I saw they were using Twitter to have designated staff (in unicorn masks) come and save your place in line, and free storage lockers for all attendees, then it clicked. Why wouldn’t Progressive be here?
Warner Bros had a large showing of their future portfolio at San Diego, and really didn’t have anything new left to show at NYCC. With Marvel planning to blanket the event with everything they have in store for television and cinema, what was Warner Bros really left to do? Well, what they did was huge: they offered (for the first time ever at NYCC) free Wi-Fi for attendees. But not just any free Wi-Fi, free Wi-Fi from one of the most powerful fictional organizations ever created: Lexcorp— by Lex Luthor himself. How cool is that?
NYCC has grown so much it can’t even be contained in the Javits Center anymore. It stretches across all of New York City, with events going on all week. Even Madison Square Garden and the Hammerstein Ballroom have opened their doors to special panels, as the impact of pop culture from Adventure Time to The Walking Dead can’t be ignored. And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg—NYCC is filled with marketing opportunities, from advancements in virtual and augmented reality and the latest from Wacom to the MASSIVE presence of special effects company Weta Studios and even celebrity sightings, I came away with ideas that will take my imagination, and my business, well beyond 2017.
Looking forward to seeing you at the 2016 New York ComicCon!