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Marketing Outside Comic-Con: Out-of-bounds Events Grow in Popularity

Fantasy comes to life in San Diego for four days during the annual Comic-Con International. We love Comic-Con here at Nuffer, Smith, Tucker as it invigorates the downtown area where our office is located. We even venture into the craziness for our annual Friday team Comic-Con lunch. It’s a great opportunity to see the characters of choice for the year. However, as a PR professional, I geek out on seeing all the marketing initiatives that take place outside the convention center walls!

This year NBC set up shop across the street from the convention center with tents aimed at immersing attendees in its programing line-up, which also included a very cool Tin Fish restaurant take-over. Summit Entertainment did the same on the opposite side of Fifth Avenue for its upcoming movie release “Ender’s Game.” The Ender’s Game tent was huge and allowed fans that did not have a Comic-Con badge to experience some excitement too.

The Wall Street Journal published an article on Monday that addresses why companies are using this “out-of-bounds” strategy to make their brands and messages stand out within large-scale conventions and events like Comic-Con.

Ben Fritz writes, “Hollywood’s solution: elaborate showcases throughout the city that immerse visitors in a tightly controlled environment. As big pop-culture festivals grow in size and influence they frequently spawn out-of-bounds events.”

You can read the Wall Street Journal article here and learn why a San Diego building was transformed into a replica of Tokyo.

In the spirit of Comic-Con, I asked our staff what superhero they idolize and to identify the superhero powers they’d like to have to make their professional life a bit easier:

Mark Olson (Superhero alias: Multiple Mark) – “My superpower would be cloning so I could send my clones to networking events all over San Diego to attract even more new business for NST!”

Melissa Rubbelke (Superhero idol: Cypher) – “The ability to speak and translate all languages (including computer coding languages) would help me communicate effectively and efficiently (which is great for PR), as well as be able to relate with different types of cultures throughout the world.”

Greg Kershaw (Superhero idol: The Flash) – “If I had The Flash’s superhuman speed I’d never be late to a meeting and would always be able to accomplish everything on my to-do list. Having the ability to move, think and react that quickly would be amazing in the fast-moving world of PR.”

Natalie Haack (Superhero alias: Intuitive Pitch Woman) – “As Intuitive Pitch Woman I can craft the perfect media pitch with lightening speed – customizing each one to perfectly suit the needs of each outlet and reporter.”

Mary Correia-Moreno (Superhero idol: Wonder Woman) – “Wonder Woman is a heroine with super strength, speed, stamina and endurance who fought for justice, peace and equality, making her the ultimate mulit-tasker. With all those powers I could get so much done in 24 hours and wouldn’t feel like I was missing out on anything!”

Katie Rowland (Superhero alias: Sleepless in San Diego) – “My desired superpower would be endless energy so that sleep was optional. We’ve all heard that ‘PR never sleeps’ and sometimes, especially with early morning media segments, that’s all too true. It would be great to operate at full energy for a whirlwind day of media interviews and never tire!”

Desiree Woodhall (Superhero alias: Dwoods) – “I would like to multiply myself. With being a student, working a part-time job and interning at NST, my time is spread pretty thin. By duplicating myself, I could get everything done in the day and actually have time to do things I enjoy, like riding my horse.”

Michelle Livermore (Superhero alias: Graphica Girl) – “As Graphica Girl I would be able to design award winning graphics with my eyes closed, able to conquer challenges with the blink of an eye, able to meet any deadline no matter the forces working against me.”

Bill Trumpfheller (Superhero idol: Superman) – “I would like Superman’s ability to fly so I’m not wasting precious time in between meetings or in traffic. His speed in getting from place to place could easily add a welcomed extra four hours to my day!”

Did you attend Comic-Con International? What was your favorite “out-of-bounds” experience this year?

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