Autograph Signing- Riverdale at NYCC

Since its debut on the CW Network, Riverdale has been a fan favorite at comic book conventions.

For the Riverdale signing at New York Comic Con (NYCC) in October, the CW provided attendees with a nice, exclusive poster featuring cast members posed as their signature, dramatic, angst-fill characters.

The Riverdale cast strike an angst-ridden pose for NYCC fans!

Pictured in the poster, and appearing at the signing were:
Luke PerryFred Andrews
KJ ApaArchie Andrews
Lili ReinhartBetty Cooper
Madchen AmickAlice Cooper
Also in attendance at the event was Riverdale Producers/Writer Robert Aguirre Sacasa.

Though Riverdale has a large ensemble cast, the character poster provided is composed only of images of the cast members who were on-hand at NYCC. As a result, each actor pictured was able to sign their own character image- making the poster a “clean” SWAG item- perfect for display.
This was a nice bit of attention to detail, and showed that the Marketing/Public Relations/Promotional team responsible for the Riverdale event were intentional in their attempts to create a cohesive experience for fans and potential fans.

Riverdale Signing Event.

To top it all off, the talent were extremely gracious and personable in their interactions during the signing- making the Riverdale signing one of the highlights of the last day of NYCC.

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.

Outlander SWAG at NYCC Proves The Quality Doesn’t Stop With The Show

It never fails… the subscription content provider STARZ continues to be a SWAG powerhouse at New York Comic Con (NYCC)!

This year, STARZ welcomed fans with a promotional booth designed to resemble two of their popular series, American Gods and Outlander.

Visitors to the Outlander section of the booth walked away with some of the most functional and unique SWAG found at NYCC. Fans and potential fans were gifted with branded tote bags, Outlander inspired bottles of cologne/perfume, and leather luggage tags.

These items are the kind of usable, immersive SWAG items that fans go crazy for!

The handy, reusable, cloth tote bag features an image of main characters, Claire and Jaime enacting the season 4 tag-line, “Brave The New World”.

Functional/made-to-last items such as the Outlander tote are the best type of SWAG!

Visitors who walked through the booth where also gifted with a small bottle of Outlander inspired cologne/perfume.

Outlander inspired cologne/perfume bottles handed out by this dapper-dressed booth staff

Though the bottles were limited to one per person, many fans had no problem standing in line and walking through the display multiple times to complete the set of three unique scents.

Three different scents meant three separate visits through the STARZ Outlander booth
Cologne/perfume inspired by Outlander

Lastly, Outlander booth visitors were able to have a uniquely branded luggage tag created to memorialize their experience.

Gold-foil stamp machine. Image provided by @MarvelMorris

Visitors could choose up-to three letters to have gold-foil stamped on the back-side of a leather tag, embossed with the Outlander STARZ logo.

Gold-foil stamped, leather luggage tags

When this much thought is put into promotional material, it gives a really good impression of the quality of the property being promoted. And after three high quality, enjoyable seasons, Outlander continues to be one of the best shows currently produced.

With the fourth season of Outlander recently begun (Nov. 4)… everyone who visited the booth at NYCC should take the opportunity to secure a subscription to STARZ (if not already a subscriber), dab on some cologne/perfume and immerse themselves in the world of Outlander

Good job STARZ!!!

DC Universe SWAG Helps Generate Good Buzz For New Online Service

Going into New York Comic Con (NYCC), I had a strong feeling there would be a big push for the new, online content service, DC Universe (DCU).

Some of the awesome SWAG given as part of the DC Universe promotional push

When the Titans premier was announced just prior to NYCC, it validated this feeling… And sure enough, at the DC Entertainment Booth, the DCU SWAG was flowin’!
Buttons, comic books and posters were passed-out to all visitors. Also, special foil-cover comics and (R)obin pins were given as incentives for those who signed-up for a DCU subscription.

If you’ve seen the Titans series, then you know just how cool this pin is!

But it was the amazing SWAG given to attendees of the DCU panel that really solidified the idea that I made the right decision to pay close attention to DCU events at NYCC.*

DC Entertainment definitely won the prize for “Best SWAG of the day!”

On Thursday afternoon, DC Entertainment held an hour-long panel presentation to discuss the online service. Part-way through the panel, Co-Publisher and fan-favorite artist, Jim Lee, electrified the room when he announced that all-in-attendance would receive a free one year subscription to the DCU online service! The news was met with uproarious cheers- to the point where the buzz in the air made it difficult to hear the rest of the presentation.

DC Universe subscription card provided to panel attendees!

…and with good reason!

A year subscription to DC Universe is an almost $100 gift, and is truly a great reward to DC Entertainment fans!

On a personal note: After being totally impressed and pleasantly surprised by the Titans premiere the night before, I had decided to buy the DCU service, and had in-fact signed-up for it a couple hours prior to the panel. Thanks to this amazing panel SWAG, that 100 bucks was able to find its way back into my pocket!

When the trailer for the Titans series was released at San Diego Comic Con, the response wasn’t good… Hopefully the buzz from the NYCC premier, and the added enthusiasm generated from the premier/booth/panel SWAG trifecta, made it clear DC Entertainment intends to deliver with the DCU online service!

 

*Actually, there’s one more DC Universe SWAG item that made me swoon!
More on that in another post…

Heathers Bring Bitchiness To NYCC (Was It Intentional?)

“Paramount Network”?
What’s a “Paramount Network”?

Before coming across the Heathers school bus on the Javits Center exhibit floor at New York Comic Con (NYCC), I had no idea the Paramount Network existed or the fact that they had a new series based on the Heathers motion picture.

Though I remember enjoying it, I haven’t thought about Heathers, the movie, since I saw it on cable television a few months after its theatrical release in the late ‘80s.

…But I do remember thinking it was a good movie. So, even though there was a bit of a wait to board the school bus display at NYCC, I decided to take the time and check it out.

While waiting I was handed a flyer about the new series but the display staff was actually kind of stand-offish and didn’t really make much effort to generate interest from visitors.

I was left to assume the heavily graffitied bus is a significant prop that plays an interesting/important role in the series.

The back of the bus was hollowed-out, except for a large-screen television and some bucket seats for a photo op. The tv showed scenes from the series but without engagement from the actresses/booth staff, the interactive display didn’t generate as much excitement for the series as could’ve been the case…

Despite the poor (or intentional lack of) engagement from staff, the Heathers display was still able to perk my interest. But had I not had a history of enjoying the source material, I’m not sure this would’ve been the case.

Upon exiting the bus, visitors were give a few branded buttons/pins as SWAG promoting  the series.

The “ice-drink with straw” shaped pin is fun (so is the “Shut-up Heather” button I wasn’t given, but I’ve spotted online), but the Heathers interactive display really could’ve benefited from more interactive staff.

But then again, if I remember the movie correctly, considering the “bitchiness” of a “Heather”, maybe the “stand-offishness” was intentional?

Were you at NYCC? Did you visit the Heathers display? What do you think? Was the booth staff intentionally acting in-character? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

NYCC Attendees Channel Their Inner Thanos For Sideshow SWAG

Companies don’t always announce ahead of time what SWAG they intend to bring to a convention. However, this year Sideshow Collectibles gave both San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) and New York Comic Con (NYCC) attendees an advanced heads-up of their SWAG intentions.

Both NYCC and SDCC attendees received exclusive, branded Infinity Gauntlet lapel pins!

For both shows, Sideshow gave-out bright, shinny, highly-desirable, gem-encrusted, Infinity Gauntlet lapel pins! And best of all, the pins were branded with the SDCC or NYCC initials.

The announcement of the giveaway included instruction on how to obtain a pin. And the pin’s limited quantities made the Sideshow Booth a popular first-stop for quite a few attendees.

At SDCC attendees just had to be among the first 500 visitors to the Sideshow booth to get a pin.

At NYCC, a bit more work was required to get the Gauntlet…

Sideshow Stamp-card

Seekers didn’t have to comb the universe like Thanos, but a pin could only be had through exchanging a card stamped with marks collected by visiting three of seven different booths on the convention floor.

The scavenger-hunt for the correct booths was actually a fun, additional component that made the NYCC Infinity Gauntlet SWAG-hunt that much more fun. Hopefully the booths involved with the hunt saw some additional sales and activity as a result of their involvement!

These pins are way too cool not to wear or display in some manner. I’d put them on my gym bag, but the way I throw that thing around, they’d surely fall off and get lost.

How/where do you display your SWAG pins? What’s some cool places to wear nerd SWAG and get appreciation? Do you have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments…

DC Universe Titans Premiere Event With Mystery SWAG!

It’s hard to believe the last day of New York Comic Con (NYCC) was one month ago, today. NYCC is one of the biggest comic book conventions of the year, and similar to years past, this year’s event came with a heap of awesome SWAG!

Over the next few posts, I’ll be reflecting on some of the SWAG experiences NYCC had to offer…

DC Universe Titans Premier at New York Comic Con

The first significant SWAG opportunity of NYCC was at the DC Universe premier of their initial original online content offering, Titans (humbly covered by me on Comicon.com).

Titans Popcorn!

At the event, general attendees were treated to soda and popcorn, served in bags branded with stickers displaying the Titans logo.

As a container for perishables, that most likely eventually found its way into the trash, the bag isn’t necessarily marketing at its best, yet it was a nice way to create good vibes associated with DCU and the Titans show. But it was the SWAG provided to the invited guests that may have been the true SWAG prize of the night…

Spy image of VIP area, as seen from the cheap (general attendee) seats!

Though the actual item couldn’t be made-out from the general attendees seats (see pic above), it could be seen that invited guests were provided with an item resembling a comic book, as a memento of their night at the premier.

DC Entertainment Booth SWAG & probable Titans Premier SWAG

The item may possibly be the same Titans comic that was passed-out to NYCC attendees at the DC Entertainment Booth, throughout the four days of the convention?*. But it was difficult to make-out the cover image. Seeing as no other item advertised as being “obtained at the Titans premier” has been spotted on eBay, chances are likely that the DC Booth giveaway is also the item given to the Titans premiere, invited guests.

The comic, featuring a photo image of Robin from the DCU Titans show, is an awesome SWAG item, and a great marketing tool for the DC Universe online service.…

I wasn’t able to get my hands on one of the mystery items during the Titans premier, but throughout the four -day event, I was able to snag one of the Titans comics from the DC Entertainment Booth.

As a SWAG Collector, with chronic FOMO…  I sincerely hope the two items are one-in-the-same!

*If anyone can confirm what the mystery item actually was, I’d sure appreciate it!

Ready Player One a Hit at WonderCon!!!

WonderCon, Anaheim, 2018

Ready Player One (RPO) was one of the most anticipated presences at the Anaheim Convention Center, during WonderCon, this past weekend (March 23-25).
The movie, opening March 29, had two events at the convention.

At 10:30am, on Saturday, Warner Brothers Pictures hosted an autograph signing featuring cast members and creatives from the film…

Though many RPO fans went into WonderCon Saturday morning, feeling dejected having not been selected in the new autographs online lottery (more on this in a later blogpost), several vigilant fans WERE able to successfully infiltrate the RPO autograph signing!

The autograph signing was attended by Tye Sheridan (Parzival), Philip Zhao (Sho), Lena Waithe (Aech), Olivia Cooke (Art3mis), Win Morisaki (Daito), Ben Mendelsohn (Sorrento), Screenwriter Zak Penn and Author Ernest Cline.

Autographed Ready Player One poster SWAG!

Each of the cast members and creatives engaged with autograph seekers and seemed genuinely happy to be there. And fans lucky enough to attend the signing seemed EVEN MORE happy as they chatted and walked away with autographed poster SWAG!

At 12:25pm, on Saturday, Warner Brothers hosted the cast and creatives in a 45 minute-long panel/Q&A…

Crowd outside the Arena, before the Ready Player One panel

At San Diego Comic Con, because of the need to devote several hours to line-up, fans of a particular property usually have to choose between trying to get autographs OR seeing the panel for that property. Fortunately, because of the Anaheim Arena’s huge capacity (7,500), there’s typically enough seats and enough audience turn-over to accommodate hundreds (possibly thousands) of new audience members at the start of panels.
As a result, fans who attended the RPO autograph signing could also make it into the Arena for the RPO panel!

Ready Player One panelists discussing their experience making the film

During the event, panel members reflected on their time working on the film, and each had humorous anecdotal stories of being star-struck by Director Steven Spielberg.
It was a bit disappointing that the panel didn’t include never-before-seen footage from the film. However, it’s understandable, considering many scenes in this movie contain spoilers… and fans will probably be better-off experiencing it for the first time while viewing the complete film.

On a personal note, I had a great time at the signing and panel!
During the signing, I was able to confirm with Cline that he has begun work on a RPO sequel, and he made a humorous joke about promising to be finished before R.R. Martin’s next Game of Thrones book!
And the events had awesome synchronicity for me, when Tye Sheridan shared with the panel audience how very impressed he was with Lena Waithe’s performance- given it was her first film. …Something he had just became aware of earlier in the day, after hearing me confirm this fact, while chatting with Lena during the autograph signing!

Other than the Los Angeles, red-carpet premier (March 26)… WonderCon was the last BIG stop for the RPO marketing machine!
And in only a few days, fans will finally be able to experience Cline’s universe as imagined by Spielberg!

Thanks to my love of SWAG, I found RPO and I’ll be among the masses entering the Oasis!

So should you!!!

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?

Ready Player One, *ahem*, “Ready” for WonderCon!

As predicted, Warner Brothers Pictures is headed to WonderCon, Saturday, March 24, with a panel and signing for the highly anticipated movie, Ready Player One (RPO)!
WonderCon recently shared a tweet confirming Author Ernest Cline and the actors bringing the “High Five” characters to life from the page to the screen will appear courtesy of WB Pictures.

Thanks to this WonderCon Tweet, Saturday, March 24 seems like a lifetime away!

It will be interesting to see if San Diego Comic Con‘s little sister will be able to secure director Steven Spielberg for the signing/panel.
The fact that Warner Brothers thought highly enough of WonderCon to bring director Patty Jenkins to last year’s Wonder Woman events is promising…

Wonder Woman Director Patty Jenkins signing at WonderCon 2017
Ready Player One movie poster from SDCC 2017, signed by cast and creative talent- including Director Steven Spielberg!

And the fact that Spielberg made an appearance at the SDCC 2017 RPO events also bodes well.

With WonderCon’s new online lottery system for obtaining autographs, RPO fans have a slim (1-in-60,000) chance of getting signatures from the cast…
However, dedicated RPO fans will have a slightly better chance of attending the Warner Brothers panel in the 7,500-seat, Anaheim Convention Center Arena (interested fans should line-up at least two hours ahead of scheduled start-time).

RPO panels and special screenings made a huge splash at last weekend‘s South by SouthWest show in Austin Texas. As a result, it seemed WonderCon might get overlooked! Fortunately that’s not the case!
…And attendees can expect the RPO fun and goodness to continue at WonderCon!