SCI FI Channel is one of the 800-pound gorillas of ComicCon. The channel’s presence is big, both on the convention floor where their futuristic booth draws the crowd like a beacon, and in the ballrooms where the panels are held. Talent , executives, and creatives associated with the network stream in over the four day period. And SCI FI ’s Saturday night party is one of of ComicCon’s hot tickets.
But Showtime deserves some recognition as the 800-pound guerilla for their simple word of mouth/guerilla marketing effort.
The network, as far as I could tell, was nowhere to be found. (Granted the event is huge, but a search on the ComicCon website yielded nothing and the network wasn’t listed as an exhibitor.) Apparently, they didn’t organize any costly panels, fly in talent, or mount expensive booths on the convention floor. But they still managed to generate buzz.
On Thursday morning, the first big day of the convention, I passed several women distributing Dexter bumper stickers and pins on a street corner outside the convention center. The pins and stickers were very simple. "I heart Dexter," was all they said - in black letters with a heart in the middle. A bit of red spray off the heart mimicked blood spatter. (Dexter is forensic blood spatter analyst but he moonlights - as a serial killer who hunts serial killers.)
Oh, I thought. This is kind of clever. I really like the show, so I stuck one of the pins on my blouse, not really thinking much of it.
By Thursday evening, the stickers started popping up on lamp posts and on the back of backpacks.
By early Friday morning, people were stopping me on the convention floor. "I hope you don’t mind me asking," they always prefaced. (ComicCon attendees are really polite and nice - it’s a tribe thing.)
"…..but I see you’re wearing a Dexter pin. and I’ve been seeing these pins everywhere. What is Dexter?"
By the end of the day, I’d probably talked-up Dexter to at least a half-dozen people who very politely stopped me and asked me to explain. The little campaign very effectively generated word of mouth at ComicCon in advance of the Dexter second season, September 30 launch. And who better to push the series than the MOTTs (members of the tribe).
Then, baking in the hot sun, standing in the many blocks-long line with thousands of fans hoping to score a seat in the Ballroom 20/Battlestar event, I looked up into the blue sky. It was a plane hauling a banner, buzzing back and forth, back and forth, in front of the convention center. The banner said: "I heart Dexter."
Click here to look at pics of the pin and the plane hauling the banner. Be sure to click on the thumbnails to enlarge.