SWAG Collecting- Limited Autograph Signings

­­Company sponsored, limited autograph signings* are some of the most difficult SWAG to get. Unlike other SWAG– distributed by the thousands- signings are typically limited to 100 or fewer participants.

NYCC attendees try for a blind-bag pull to win the highly-coveted, Outlander Cast Signing! Picture courtesy @MarvelMorris

The low supply/high demand of limited signings has resulted in practices such as online lotteries to prevent unruly lines, and early morning line-ups to reward dedicated fans willing to take a chance with a random drawing.
Success with these signings vary depending on one’s luck, persistence, and determination.

It can be a great “high” when you receive a email confirming you’ve been selected in a lottery, or when you pull a winning ticket from a blind-bag drawing.

For an autograph seeking, SWAG Collector, this email is better than a gift on Christmas morning!

On the other-hand, it can be a gut-wrenching, soul-crushing downer when you realize a “winning” email isn’t coming, or when you pull a losing ticket after hours waiting in line for a drawing.

Company sponsored autograph signings have become much more difficult with the increased usage of online lotteries. For die-hard autograph seekers, the “high” of winning a random drawing is worth the potential of walking away empty-handed. And because the odds are much more in our favor, we’d prefer to stand in line (with hundreds of competitors), rather than enter an online lottery (with tens of thousands of competitors).

During New York Comic Con (NYCC) this year, between lotteries, early morning lineup and drawings, my fellow SWAG Collectors and I got pretty lucky with a few of the company sponsored, limited autograph signings.

Over the next few posts (starting tomorrow), I’ll be sharing some of our experiences, and some of the cool items we were able to get in our grubby little hands!

 

*Company sponsored, limited autograph signings aren’t to be confused with paid autograph signings and meet-&-greets arranged between a host company (ReedPop in the case of NYCC) and event guests.
As a function of marketing and promotion, company sponsored, limited autograph signings are free.
Paid autographs can be fun also, but for attendees with more less disposable income, company sponsored, limited autograph signings are a bit more accessible.
And anyways… Are paid items ACTUALLY SWAG?
…That’s a conversation for another day.

Ready Player One: A Masterclass on Marketing with SWAG!

The term SWAG has evolved over the years, but in the purest definition, SWAG is a promotional giveaway used to create awareness and/or encourage a purchase…
It feels like you’ve hit the jackpot when you get SWAG related to something you enjoy or are anticipating.
And it can be even more exciting when you happen upon SWAG relating to something you’re totally unfamiliar with, yet intrigues you to explore further.

Some SWAG is better than others, but honestly, I don’t think there’s such a thing as “bad” SWAG!
And as a marketing device, SWAG works!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, published 2011

My experience with Ready Player One (RPO) is a great example of the power of SWAG…

Ready Player One hits theaters March 29.
The movie is an adaption of Author Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name. Though the book was an immediate hit upon publication in 2011, RPO didn’t get on my radar until 2015.

That year, I stumbled upon a line while walking the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) exhibit hall, and I was fortunate enough to get ensnared by publisher, Penguin Random House’s RPO promotional signing, with Cline.
The line for the signing stretched sooo far past the Penguin Random House booth, that its origin and reason for formation, was totally unclear. But with so many eager faces in line, my FOMO demanded I step to the back, and find out who/what waited at the other end!

As Penguin Random House employees walked the line, handing-out softcover copies of RPO, I struck-up a few conversations.
I asked what RPO was about, and found myself becoming more and more excited as I was told of the book’s dystopian future, the ‘80s nostalgia, the virtual world landscape, and the little guy vs evil corporation plot devices.

Ready Player One signed by Cline at San Diego Comic Con, 2015

When I got to the front and handed-off my book to be signed by Mr. Cline, he was gracious, friendly, and a great ambassador for RPO.
I left the signing feeling extremely enthusiastic, and when I got home, I started reading immediately…

Not surprisingly, I loved the book, and couldn’t resist being vocal about it.
I told everyone I know IRL…
I told everyone on my Twitter feed…
I recommended it at every opportunity…
And though I stopped short of giving away my signed copy, I’m absolutely positive I am responsible for getting AT LEAST three people to read RPO.

With a crowd pleasing property such as RPO, I’m sure my experience isn’t unique. And it’s easy to envision the publisher’s exponential positive return-on-investment from bringing Cline to SDCC, and giving away signed copies of his book, as SWAG.

In 2017, this strategy was mimicked on a larger scale when Warner Brothers Pictures brought their RPO movie promotional campaign to SDCC. The campaign included a panel/autograph signing with Cline and several of the talent associated with the movie, including Director Steven Spielberg!

This time around, I was a 2-year-veteran, Ready Player One fan, and the signing was a highly anticipated, can’t-miss event for me!
However, this second RPO SWAG opportunity was a far-cry from the easily-attended event that was the 2015 book signing.

Movie and television autograph signings are notoriously difficult to attend at SDCC.
Getting these autographs require double-digit HOURS waiting in line, overnight, for a CHANCE at an early morning drawing, that’s riddled with line-cutters and a suspiciously large number of ADA badge holders (who receive preferential line access)!

Though this scenario deters most attendees from autograph seeking, there still are quite a few (hundreds) people vying to pull a wining ticket, from a blind-bag drawing.
And in 2017, I was among those who were willing to take the chance that luck would be on my side.
I mean… it was for Ready Player One- my favorite novel of the past two years!!!
And it was for Steven Spielberg- one of my favorite directors of all time!!!

For me, the hardship endured was worth the risk of possibly walking away empty-handed.

WB Lenticular wristband cut from the wrist at signing…

Fortunately, luck was on my side…
And after sticking my hand in the bag and drawing a ticket, I walked away with one of the coveted wristband that entitled me to join the winning group at the Warner Brothers exhibit booth later that day, for a signing with Cline, Spielberg, and several others.

At the signing event, I had a great time briefly exchanging pleasantries with Cline and the creatives behind the RPO movie!
I couldn’t help but gush over Director Spielberg and tell him how much my kids (who were with me!!!) and I love his work!

Signed Ready Player One promotional poster…

The autographed poster SWAG I walked away with has become an ABSOLUTE cherished part of my SWAG collection!
When I’m asked about SDCC 2017, the RPO signing is always touted as my fondest experience! And to this day, I continue to be the vocal, enthusiastic, Ready Player One fan that the Penguin Random House and Warner Brothers marketing teams hoped to create when their autographed RPO SWAG was bestowed upon me!

RPO premiered to rave reviews at the South by SouthWest (SXSW) festival in Austin, TX.
And on MARCH 24- less than a week from wide release- RPO is making it’s final, big, pre-release, convention promotional push, with a panel/signing at WonderCon in Anaheim, CA!

Though sadly, WonderCon’s recent move to online lotteries for signings makes it unlikely I’ll walk away from the convention having added another autographed poster to my RPO SWAG collection, I’ve got my fingers crossed that the panel, featuring Cline and the “High Five” cast, will also include the “Extra Life” coin (seen at SXSW) as a surprise SWAG giveaway to panel attendees!

…A SWAGCollector can dream, can’t he?

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash

On Saturday, February 10, Warner Brothers Home Entertainment hosted the world premiere of the Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash movie, at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, CA.

DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash lobby standee at The Paley Center in Beverly Hills, CA

The kid-friendly Lego flick puts The Flash front-and-center, pitted against the Reverse-Flash, in a battle for control of the “speed-force”. The movie also features several Justice League members- with The Atom, Doctor Fate, and Zatanna (“Yrros”) as stand-out characters.

Several cast members and creators who worked on the movie were in attendance at the premiere…

Cast and creators gathered to sign poster SWAG!

After the showing, film talent gathered in the lobby of the Paley Center to sign posters and briefly mingle with attendees. The poster SWAG, recreating the image from the Blu-ray packaging, was signed by James Arnold Taylor (The Flash), Troy Baker (Batman), Grey Griffin (Wonder Woman/Lois Lane), Phil LaMarr (Firestorm), Eric Bauza (The Atom), and Jeremy Adams (writer). Kids in attendance were also given a Lego set featuring DC Comics Super Heroes.

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes, signed movie poster.

Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash is a fun movie. Though it is very-much made for kids, the adults in the audience seemed to have a good time with the humor-filled story.
Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: The Flash is now available on digital, and available March 13 on Blu-Ray.

Started on Twitter, Now We’re Here! The SWAG Collector is now a Blog!

Hello visitor!

This site is dedicated to the joys of SWAG Collecting!

“What is SWAG?”, you may ask?

SWAG” is an acronym for “Stuff We All Get.”

The term was coined to describe an item (usually free) given as incentive, reward or promotion to an attendee of a special event.

When referring to “SWAG” on this site, the term will fall into one (or more) of the following categories…

  • Promotional (Free) event exclusive
  • Paid Event exclusive
  • Items (exclusives & non-exclusives) signed at the event
  • Free, non-exclusive (sometimes)
  • …And on VERY special occasions, the event itself IS the SWAG!

At comic book conventions, the “Stuff” in “Stuff We All Get” frequently is bastardized into encompassing ANY item (including non-exclusives & everyday items) obtained at the event. On this site, the term “SWAG” will NOT be used to describe a paid, unsigned, non-exclusive item- easily found outside of a special event, with no discernible characteristic or uniqueness.

I’ve collected SWAG for many years, and for the last six years, I’ve chronicled my hobby on the twitter account, @SWAGCollector.
If you already follow me, you may have a good idea of what SWAG is, and what SWAG Collecting is all about! If not, take a look

My goal is to make this blog a fun place for convention-goers, collectors and others to check-out some of the awesome going-ons surrounding SWAG found (mostly) at conventions, such as WonderCon, New York Comic Con, and the granddaddy of all comic book conventions, San Diego Comic Con!

I hope you find it entertaining.  Any and all feedback is appreciated…

Thanks for reading!