Brands are finding highly experiential ways to engage with comic book fans, whether through VR, a haunted house or free shaves. Here are some of the biggest experiential brand activations found on or near the New York Comic Con show floor this year.
The HBO hit series about lifelike androids rise up and take over a sophisticated Old West theme park, returns to New York Comic Con, but with real life instead of a VR experience. Westworld is building hype for the 2018 season two premiere by tweeting the location of a pop-up tent every morning during the convention. Users can reserve a spot at the tent to visit Delos, the fictional company that runs the Westworld theme park.
At a nondescript office located near the Jacob Javitz Convention Center, visitors are greeted by hosts who prepare them for a live theater experience using an extensive personality test to determine if they are “black” or “white” hats. They then step into a Westworld saloon with performances tailored to their type. Attendees walked home with real white or black Stetson hats and a new sense of self awareness.
Live without limits.
Sign up now to visit #Westworld on the South side of 42nd St, between 11th & 12th. #NYCC Badge holders 21+ only. pic.twitter.com/gnW3ODyJIa
— Westworld (@WestworldHBO) October 6, 2017
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is showcasing two new shows at the convention: The Tick and Lore.
The Tick, which features a big blue superhero and his high-tech moth sidekick Arthur, made a huge impression at San Diego Comic Con over the summer with a 24-foot replica of the hero’s head, complete with moving antennae. But instead of getting on the Tick’s head, New York Comic Con attendees got to visit Dangerboat, an AI-controlled superboat from the show. As guests played with the boat’s controls, registered themselves as superheroes at the computer kiosks, and struck poses at the green screen camera, the boat’s AI—played by an actor controlling a moving camera—interacted with guests by making cheeky observations about them. Attendees can then use Dangerboat’s onboard vending machine to get themselves a can of “Fo-Ham,” a synthetic meat product from the show (there’s no actual meat-like substance inside) and leave with a big blue Tick-branded rain poncho.
At the other end of the convention center is the Museum of Lore, which is essentially a haunted house experience built to promote the upcoming podcast-inspired Amazon anthology series Lore. Guests are taken to three rooms: “Gene’s Bedroom,” “The Unveiled” and “The Beast Inside.” Each tells a different story from Lore while providing shareable photo opportunities.
Amazon Echo And Jack Ryan
Escape rooms are in fashion this year at New York Comic Con, and Amazon is pulling double duty with its Echo Escape Room activation. Groups of people are challenged to escape from a bunker inspired by the upcoming Amazon Prime Video show Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, premiering in 2018.
The spy-thriller escape room created in partnership with Intel includes Amazon Echo and Echo Show devices, which help players operate machinery, solve math problems, change the lights to different colors and place calls to the group’s government handler or Jack Ryan himself.
Saw movies have come to epitomize the escape room theme, and Lionsgate is emphasizing that by promoting its upcoming movie Jigsaw with a VR escape room inside a physical escape room. Developed in partnership with Unity to launch its Virtual Room ad unit, attendees are trapped by Jigsaw and must complete his deadly game to get out alive.
Jigsaw is also partnering with Atom Tickets to host a blood drive. Attendees are invited to donate at mobile New York Blood Center locations in exchange for free tickets to see the Jigsaw premiere. This campaign is being called “All Types Welcome,” which protests discriminatory rules preventing queer men from donating blood. Models representing the blood drive include LGBTQ+ spokespeople Amanda Lepore, Nyakim Gatwech, Mykie and Shaun Ross. The “All Types Welcome” campaign kicked off in New York on Thursday and will expand to 25 cities across the US.
New York! Donate blood💉 at the mobile Jigsaw blood drive:
10/5 & 10/7
10AM – 4PM
11TH AVE & WEST 36TH STREET
More: https://t.co/qJpn4EC8rN pic.twitter.com/SeQgFQsp5f
— Saw (@SawMovie) October 5, 2017
In the parking lot across the street from the Jacob Javitz Convention Center, Freeform has one of the most ambitious activations of the convention. The cable channel largely targets young millennial audiences and is promoting four of its shows.
The first, a mermaid-themed show called Siren, is scheduled to launch in 2018. Guests get a tour of mermaid lore as well as a “live” mermaid. Next to this activation is a mock bodega designed to promote Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, a comic book-inspired show slated for 2018. Guests can approach the window and draw tarot cards to win prizes that include t-shirts and black-and-white cookies.
We’re live on our #Siren FB Page now from our mermaid tank at #NYCC https://t.co/EkznTLdYvc pic.twitter.com/qCRtlxMsSU
— Siren (@SirenTV) October 5, 2017
Freeform is also gearing up for the second season of Beyond. The show centers around a man named Holden Matthews, who wakes from a 12-year coma to discover he has supernatural powers. A 360-degree photo booth puts attendees into the iconic forest scene from the show. Shadowhunters, the supernatural-themed show based on the bestselling book series, is also preparing for its second season with a recreation of its Chinese Restaurant locale.
DC is using some of its Wonder Woman movie momentum to promote the November 17 theatrical launch of Justice League. Costumes for Flash, Cyborg, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman were taken from the movie set and put on display at the convention. Additionally, players can challenge each other in Injustice 2 at a nearby kiosk.
But one of the more impressive Justice League experiences on the show floor is the VR game. With it, attendees take the role of one of the five superheroes and use their powers to battle enemies.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
In a gallery experience sponsored by Verizon, Star Wars fans can get up close with props and costumes taken straight from The Last Jedi set, namely in the form of weapons, flight suits, helmets and miscellaneous gear used by the characters.
Campbell’s Soup also has a Star Wars #comiccan activation. Fans can visit an art exhibit with characters constructed entirely from limited edition Campbells Star Wars soup cans.
So @CampbellSoupCo made Praetorian Guards out of soup cans! Kylo Ren is going to turn these guys into tomato soup in #TheLastJedi #comiccan pic.twitter.com/RAyFdReECy
— John Hoey @ NYCC (@JohnnyHoey) October 6, 2017
There are many reasons to attend New York Comic Con, and now one of them includes getting a nice, close shave without irritation.
Schick Hydro Lounge visitors can sit back and relax while a professional barber shaves them from the show floor. The Schick Hydro Robot Razor, aka Hydrobot, hangs out nearby for photos.
Attendees with a more competitive streak can take part in the Schick Shave-Off, a custom video game where one can roleplay as a virtual barber. Using Hydro 5 razors as controllers, participants have five minutes to “shave” superhero and alien-inspired facial hair styles, using features like hydrating gel pools along the way. On Friday, fans can watch Wesley “Wes” Johnson, Amra “Flitz” Ricketts and Damien Haas from YouTube’s Smosh Games battle it out in a shave-off. Heroes that provide the closest super shaves walk away with swag and bragging rights, and the top scorers of the day get a chance to win a “Schick Hydro Mystery Box” filled with exclusive items.