New York Comic Con 2022 Brand Activations

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In addition to hosting an after-hours “Fight Night” party for badge-holders, collectibles company Funko has teamed up with apparel and accessories company Loungefly for a unique experience. Halloween-themed, registration-only shopping with exclusive collectibles and bags.Photo: Courtesy of Funko
NEW YORK-
“I feel invigorated by events,” Brien McDonald, vice president of sponsorships for ReedPop, said in a chat with BizBash two days after his company wrapped production of this year’s New York Comic Con (NYCC). year.

“When we walked the floor, we saw people who were really happy, queuing up to participate in an experience that got them excited about the brands,” he continued. corked over the past two years, and everything was back to full power.

The massive comic book and pop culture convention took over New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from October 6-9. Although official attendance figures have yet to be released, the show drew an estimated 260,000 fans in 2019, with nearly two-thirds coming in 2021 despite pandemic-related capacity and vaccine restrictions. And in addition to animated panels and booths from the industry’s top designers, this year’s show was once again a hot spot for creative brand activations.

In her role, McDonald works with a variety of brands to grow their presence at Comic Con. He describes it as a truly collaborative process, where the brand and creative agencies usually bring an idea to the table, and his team walks them through the smallest details. “Mostly it’s an open conversation with my team about what will work specifically for the New York Comic Con fan,” he explained. “How are we going to make this exhibit, this party or even this panel really ring true for the NYCC crowd?”

While ReedPop – a division of RX, formerly known as Reed Exhibitions – produces pop culture and gaming events year-round, McDonald’s noted that New York Comic Con is one of the most popular places to the marks to activate. “October is a popular launch time for comics, movies, and TV series,” he pointed out. “And Halloween coming up makes it more fun too. It all ends in a big moment for brands.

The show’s massive number of spectators and even its hometown also attract brands. “It’s New York. Any day, you can do whatever you want,” McDonald said. “If you’re coming to New York Comic Con, you really need to take it to the next level. Brands know that, and this year it really, really showed on the show floor.

Here are some specific activation trends that McDonald’s says have been successful in breaking the noise this year…

1. Immersive moments and gifts
Being able to bring fans into the world of your brand is the real power of face-to-face brand activations, McDonald explained, especially for entertainment brands. “If you came to an event, you really want to be immersed in a world.”

Some of his favorites from this year included a guardians of the galaxy the Disney Parks experience, an immersive forest promoting Teen Wolfand Prime Video’s futuristic print shop promoting The ringroad. “[At the Prime Video booth,] fans had a 3D printing experience and came away with something authentic and one of a kind,” he noted.

2. Interesting facades
“This year I saw a bunch of really cool facades that were really eye-catching, that made you think, ‘I gotta go, I’ve never seen anything like this before,'” McDonald added, noting that fans were quick to draw attention to the “Sometimes a quoted ‘black box’ is important for what you want the fan to do, but think about what’s outside the black box that grabs them. Is the facade, the size, or something else really intriguing or a bit mysterious?”

3. Instagrammable Moments
Yes, photo ops are still important, said McDonald, who called them “the end point of everything, really. [A great photo op] is expected and can be quite easy to execute. You’re always looking for that big social footprint that happens when everyone comes together.”

4. Unexpected Programming
McDonald’s also liked brands that showed up unexpectedly, like food delivery service DoorDash. The brand created Dashville, a fictional town that sprung up just outside the convention center. Here, fans were assigned to different comic book characters – called The Dashers – based on a series of challenges.

“DoorDash could have been there promoting as usual, but instead they handcrafted these Dasher characters that looked and felt like tried-and-true comic book superheroes,” said said McDonald. “It was a super cool example of not promoting, but creating an experience.”

5. Awareness before the event
For Official Brand Partners, McDonald’s highlighted the importance of pre-event promotion to their experiences. “We have many ways to let fans know what’s going on, through the mobile app or through our emails or social media,” he explained. The goal is to allow fans to make their plans long before they arrive at the convention center. If brands rely on them just to wander around and find their activations, “they’re going to miss it,” he said. “We try to work with brands to get the word out ahead of time, to grab attention before fans even walk through the door.”

6. Convenient locations
In previous years, brands have popped up all over the city, but this year, due to a recent expansion to the Javits Center, the majority of official brand activations were able to take place inside the new building. five levels north of the center. “This is where we do the majority of our panel programming, including our Empire Stage which has all the biggest celebrity panels, and the Pavilion, a party space which has hosted events from Funko and Showtime,” said McDonald. “Fans were able to visit more with everything so close.”

“Brand activations at large-scale events are back,” he summed up. Do you want proof ? Scroll down to check out some of the coolest booths and activations we spotted at this year’s New York Comic Con.

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